Lakota protesters block pipeline construction

Native Americans, ranchers and farmers on Aug. 10 launched a blockade of a highway in North Dakota to bar crews of contractor Energy Transfer Partners from reaching the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some 250 Lakota Indians and their allies are still maintaining the blockade, despite several arrests. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, will extend from North Dakota to a market hub near Patoka, Ill., outside Chicago. The US Army Corps Engineers issued formal approval of the pipeline on July 26. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have started a protest camp to block its construction, where the Cannonball and Missouri rivers meet. Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault III is among those arrested by North Dakota state troopers and Morton County deputies. At 1,172 miles, the Dakota Access Pipeline is only seven miles shorter than the proposed length of the stalled Keystone Pipeline. (TruthOut, Censored News, Aug. 13; Native News Online, Mother Jones, Aug. 12)

  1. North Dakota pipeline construction halted until court date

    The Morton County sheriff says developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline have agreed to halt construction of the project in southern North Dakota until a federal court hearing next week in Washington, DC. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing federal regulators for approving permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline. (AP)

  2. State of emergency in Dakota pipeline protests

    Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an emergency declaration for southwest and south central North Dakota in response to protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball. The declaration starts a process by which state agencies can get additional funding. Dalrymple said in the declaration that the state is committed to protecting the right to lawful protests, but recent events have created a "significant public safety concern."

    The protests have grown substantially over the past week as about 1,500 people have gathered to demonstrate against the pipeline being drilled under the Missouri River. Large campsites have been established for the protesters. Twenty-nine people have been arrested during the demonstrations. (Bismark Tribune, Aug. 19)

    Opponents of the pipeline project brought their case to federal court Aug. 24. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe told a federal district judge that the government didn’t consult the tribe before approving a route for the pipeline of energy company Dakota Access, which is to run close to their sacredl sites. They also fear a breach in the pipeline would imperil the Missouri River.

    The tribe brought suit last month against the Army Corps of Engineers, which approved the pipeline route. Lawyers for the tribe want Judge James Boasberg to block construction on the project until the tribe can conduct more assessments of its route. (The Hill, Aug. 24)

  3. Security goons set dogs on pipeline protesters

    A Sept. 4 AP account informs us that private security guards sicced dogs on protesters confronting a Dakota Access pipeline construction crew. The second paragraph tells us the Morton County sheriff's office said four security guards and two guard dogs were injured in the fracas. It is not until the fourth paragraph that we are told: "Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed, he said."

    Meanwhile, Fusion reports that another major pipeline scheme to transported crude oil from the Bakken Fields of North Dakota was effectively killed. Enbridge said it was dropping efforts to get regulatory approvals for the long-delayed $2.6 billion Sandpiper Pipeline with would have traveled over 600 miles to Wisconsin. The company cited market conditions and low crude oil production in North Dakota as reasons for the move. They left the door open to revisiting the project, but not for at least five years.

  4. US suspends construction on North Dakota pipeline

    From the NY Times, Sept. 9:

    BISMARCK, N.D. — The federal government on Friday temporarily blocked construction on part of a North Dakota oil pipeline, an unusual intervention in a prairie battle that has drawn thousands of Native Americans and activists to camp and demonstrate.

    In a joint statement from the Departments of Justice, the Interior and the Army, the government announced that the pause applied to the pipeline’s path across a sliver of federal lands and under a dammed section of the Missouri River known as Lake Oahe. The lake, created by government-built dams a half-century ago, is a water source for the Standing Rock Sioux and a focal point of the dispute.

    The Army Corps of Engineers intends to review its previous decisions under federal environmental and other laws that had given approval for the pipeline. The government also urged the company building the pipeline to "voluntarily pause" all construction for 40 miles around Lake Oahe. The rest of the pipeline construction would not be affected