Momentary Victory at Standing Rock!
From the New York Times, December 4, 2016
“Federal officials announced on Sunday that they would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a dammed section of the Missouri River that tribes say sits near sacred burial sites.
“The decision is a victory for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters camped near the construction site who have opposed the project because they said would it threaten a water source and cultural sites. Federal officials had given the protesters until tomorrow to leave a campsite near the construction site.
|Initial gathering of Veterans to support Native American protests.|
“In a statement on Sunday, the Department of the Army’s assistant secretary for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said that the decision was based on a need to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.
“’Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Ms. Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.’
“The consideration of alternative routes ‘would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis,’ Ms Darcy said in a statement.
“The Obama administration had blocked construction of that section since September, and in November President Obama, revealed that the Army Corps of Engineers was considering an alternative route for the project.
“Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, expressed gratitude for ‘the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.’
“Tribal officials had criticized the route because of the potential damage to the tribe’s drinking water and that it would disrupt sacred lands.
“The company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, has said that it was unwilling to reroute the project.”
Beyond the cost of an alternate route, the other likely reason for the Energy Transfer Partners dismissal of changing the scheme is the President-elect Trump’s promised backing of their plan.
According to Salon.com, the demonstrations, calls to the White House and Congress, as well as the despicable uses of force and injury to try to turn away protestors gained traction as the month of December arrived.
“In a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch late last week, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey called on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the tactics used by police against peaceful protesters (who have designated themselves “water protectors”) and to deploy federal monitors to Standing Rock as reports emerge of violence against protesters.
“Booker cited ‘ongoing danger to both protesters and law enforcement,’ at the sites of ongoing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which indigenous protesters and their allies believe could contaminate the Missouri River, and desecrate sacred tribal sites.
“Last week, as the nation prepared to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, police used water cannons and rubber bullets on people attempting to halt the pipeline’s construction.” (http://www.salon.com/2016/11/29/congress-finally-begins-to-notice-the-dakota-access-pipeline-protests-at-standing-rock/)
The land, originally deeded to the Native Americans in 1851 and then rescinded by the U.S. government. Today, over 1000 veterans arrived at Standing Rock to join with Native Americans protesting the action to disturb their tribal grounds and possibly endanger millions of people who depend upon the Missouri for drinking water.
It is not over: Call the Whitehouse at 202-456-1111 to urge President Obama to maintain the halt to shale oil transfer across sacred land and water resources.