© Rick Reinhard
Several hundred environmental and justice activists joined with Native American leaders from Standing Rock N.D. to protest the Army Corps of Engineers approving the construction of the final section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Washington, D.C., February 8, 2017.
On February 8, several hundred sober but determined environmental justice activists joined with Native American leaders from Standing Rock, North Dakota, in Washington, D.C., to protest the approval to build the final section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It was among several rallies held nationwide against the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to greenlight the construction.
The decision rolled back the Army Corps previous requirement that an environmental impact study be completed before construction can continue. “I have determined that there is no cause for completing any additional environmental analysis,” Douglas Lamont, the acting assistant secretary of the Army, has stated in a memorandum.
Lawyers for the Standing Rock tribe plan to argue in court that the environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated, and will request a restraining order while the legal battle ensues.
© Rick Reinhard
Eryn Wise, from Jicarilla Apache Reservation in Minneapolis, and Linda Black Elk, a leader and mother from Standing Rock, were part of a gathering in Washington D.C. on February 8, 2017.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe today filed the first legal challenge to block the Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota.
While some activists are gearing up for renewed protests in North Dakota, tribal chairman Dave Archambault has requested that pipeline opponents stay away from the reservation, a position that has been met with its own resistance.
“Please respect our people and do not come to Standing Rock and instead exercise your First Amendment rights and take this fight to your respective state capitols, to your members of Congress, and to Washington, D.C.,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the North Dakota House of Representatives moved forward on legislation designed to increase the immunity of police and limit protesters legal rights. On Monday, it approved several anti-protest bills, including two that increase penalties for trespassing and riot charges, one that would create a new misdemeanor for wearing a mask while committing a crime, and another making it a felony to cause over $1,000 in economic harm while committing a misdemeanor. An earlier bill shielding from liability drivers who hit and kill demonstrators is awaiting action.
Actions against DAPL are unfolding in other places. The cities of Seattle, Washington, and Davis, California, have both voted to not renew contracts with Wells Fargo, citing in part the bank's role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. In Omaha today, the Winnebago tribe and the group Bold Nebraska delivered 10,000 citizen comments to the Trump administration opposing the completion of the 1200-mile oil line, which runs from North Dakota to Illinois.
Water protectors and other protesters from across the country are continuing to plan marches and other actions in the coming weeks as part of a global resistance effort against the fossil fuel industry. Here's more on what you can do.