#NoDAPL (2016- ), rhymes with apple, is the Twitter name for the protests that started in April 2016 against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation says the oil pipeline threatens its sacred lands and its water supply, the Missouri River.
Water protectors: Over 8,000 protesters have gathered at Standing Rock. Among them are green activists, military veterans (unarmed) – and over 320 First Nations from throughout the Americas, the largest such gathering since at least the 1970s, if not the 1800s.
Crackdown: The heavy-handed crackdown by DAPL security, police and the National Guard on unarmed, largely peaceful protesters has featured attack dogs, tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons (even in freezing weather!), sound cannons, rubber bullets and concussion grenades. Hundreds have been injured, hundreds have been arrested (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now among them).
The United Nations on the crackdown:
“The use of violence by some protesters should not be used as a justification to nullify the peaceful assembly rights of everyone else.”
“Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Environmental racism: The pipeline was to cross the Missouri River just north of White-majority Bismarck. Bismarck raised concerns that the pipeline would poison their water supply. So the pipeline was rerouted, guess where, just north of an Indian reservation, under the Lake Oahe part of the Missouri River – without even so much as an Environmental Impact Statement! On top of that, it crosses sacred lands and burial grounds without the agreement of Standing Rock – which is against the law. But the courts approved it anyway.
Standing Rock objected to the pipeline, but the pipeline company, backed by the courts and the police, blew them off. Thus the protests. (Standing Rock was the reservation of Sitting Bull and Vine Deloria, Jr)
The pipeline crosses four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. It is 87% complete. Just the bit near Standing Rock is left. That bit is to cross land and water claimed by both Standing Rock and the US Army.
On December 4th 2016, on the eve of what promised to be an ugly showdown between protesters and state police, the US Army Corps of Engineers said it would not approve the pipeline crossing, that the matter needed further study to determine the safest river crossing. That could take months to years.
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Sunoco Logistics, who are building the pipeline, still say they:
“fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe”.
Enter Donald Trump: Trump, soon to become the US president, has come out in favour of the pipeline. In 2015 he had money in ETP and in Phillips 66, which owns a fourth of the pipeline. Kelcy Warren, the head of ETP, gave Trump money to run for president. Those close to Trump say he will review the matter in January.
– Abagond, 2016.
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