Tag Archives: Standing Rock

Wisconsin tribe wants pipeline removed

A Chippewa tribe in Wisconsin is calling for 12 miles of pipeline to be removed from its reservation after 64 years of operation, saying they want to protect their land and water from oil spills.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s tribal council approved a resolution earlier this month refusing to renew easements for 11 parcels of land along a section of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline, which carries oil and natural gas liquids 645 miles from Canada to eastern Michigan.

The resolution also calls for decommissioning the pipeline and removing it from the tribe’s reservation along the shores of Lake Superior in far northern Wisconsin. The resolution also directs tribal staff to prepare recycling, disposal and surface restoration work that would come with removal.

“We depend upon everything that the creator put here before us to live mino-bimaadiziwin, a good and healthy life,” Bad River Chairman Robert Blanchard said in a news release. “These environmental threats not only threaten our health, but they threaten our very way of life as (Chippewa).”

But it isn’t clear whether the tribe can force removal of the pipeline.

Brad Shamla, Enbridge’s vice president of U.S. operations, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview  it was too early to speculate on what authority the tribe may have.

Officials with Calgary-based Enbridge say there’s never been a spill on the Bad River reservation.

The resolution surprised the company, Shamla said, because Enbridge and the tribe have been negotiating renewal of easements on the 11 parcels – which expired in 2013 – for the last three years. The easements for the majority of the remaining parcels on Bad River tribal land extend until 2043 or rest in perpetuity.

“We’d really like to understand better what’s prompting this at this time,” Shamla said.

Dylan Jennings, a Bad River council member, said in a telephone interview that the tribe believes it’s only a matter of time until the aging pipeline ruptures. No amount of compensation or negotiation will change its position, he said.

“A 64-year-old pipe in the ground is not something we’re prepared to leave behind for future generations,” he said.

Asked about next steps, Jennings said the Bad River is a sovereign nation and shouldn’t need approval from any federal or state regulators to force the line out. But the situation is unprecedented — most people stop pipelines before they go in, not after they’re built, he said — and the tribe will need “guidance.”

Jennings said the push to remove the pipe has nothing to do with protests in North Dakota over Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to build a section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir. The Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux are challenging the pipeline’s permits at numerous water crossings.

Enbridge’s Line 5 has been a flashpoint of contention in Michigan. Environmentalists fear a portion of pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, could rupture and cause catastrophic damage to the Great Lakes.

Shamla insisted the line is safe and is inspected at least once every five years to determine the extent of corrosion as well as spot dents, potential cracks and other problems. The company checks the portion that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac every two years, he said.

“We’ve maintained and operated this line safely for more than 60 years,” he said.

Study: North Dakota pipelines average 4 spills per year

Pipelines in North Dakota have spilled crude oil and other hazardous liquids at least 85 times since 1996, according to an analysis released today by the Center for Biological Diversity. These 85 spills — an average of four a year — caused more than $40 million in property damage, according to the data compiled from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The analysis follows the recent decision by the Obama administration not to grant the Dakota Access pipeline an easement for construction under Lake Oahe.

After months of peaceful protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will undertake a review of alternate routes for the pipeline.

“Pipeline leaks are common and incredibly dangerous, and the Dakota Access pipeline will threaten every community it cuts through,” said the center’s Randi Spivak. “This pipeline wasn’t considered safe for the residents of Bismarck. It is equally unsafe for the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux. The Army Corps should not be putting anyone’s water supply at risk.”

Energy Transfer Partners, the conglomerate behind the controversial Dakota Access project, has a questionable safety record. The company has been responsible for 29 pipeline safety incidents since 2006, in which 9,555 barrels of hazardous liquids were spilled.

The standoff over the Dakota Access pipeline has united indigenous people across the globe in an unprecedented show of solidarity. Thousands have come to show their support. In response local police have militarized the situation, firing rubber bullets and showering protesters with water in freezing temperatures.

A 2013 study reveals a deeply troubling history of pipeline accidents in the United States. This independent analysis of federal records found that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other safety incidents have resulted in nearly $7 billion in damages, more than 2,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths.

A time-lapse video documents significant pipeline” incidents in the continental United States — along with their human and financial costs — from 1986 through May 2013.

On average one significant pipeline incident occurred in the country every 30 hours, according to the data.

“We expect the Corps to conduct a full oil-spill risk analysis for every river crossing along the entire route of the Dakota Access project,” Spivak said in a statement to the press. “Spills are a fact of life when pipelines fail — and that puts water, wildlife and people directly in harm’s way.”

 

Dakota Access protesters close Citibank accounts

As part of a global day of solidarity with Standing Rock water protectors, thousands of activists around the globe demanded that Citibank halt and rescind its loan disbursements for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Activists went to Citibank branches to close their accounts and ask that the bank honor its policies on Indigenous, human, and environmental rights.

Citibank holds the largest share in the Dakota Access pipeline and helped lay the groundwork for other financial institutions to join in financing the controversial project.

“Citibank claims that it cares about Indigenous rights, yet has led the way in financing this disastrous project on behalf of a fossil fuel company willing to destroy Standing Rock’s sacred land and water supply,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Mary Sweeters. “Not only has the bank laid the groundwork for the project to move forward, in doing so it has signed off on the human rights abuses we’ve seen from Energy Transfer Partners and its security team. It’s time for Citi to put its loan disbursements on hold and withdraw from the pipeline agreement if all outstanding issues are not resolved to the satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux.”

In addition to visiting local branches to close accounts and demand accountability from Citi, activists were taking to phones throughout the day to pressure the bank to halt and rescind its loan disbursements.

The actions are part of a larger global day of solidarity with Standing Rock through which individuals closed their bank accounts, shut down banks and demand the withdrawal of sheriff departments.

Greenpeace, which is involved in coordinating the actions, delivered a letter to Citibank reiterating the demands outlined in a coalition letter initiated by BankTrack and sent to all 17 financial institutions backing the project.

The demands include:

• All further loan disbursements to the project are immediately put on hold.

• Citi demands from the project sponsor that all construction of the pipeline and all associated structures is put on hold until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

• In case such a resolution of outstanding issues is not achieved with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Citi will fully withdraw from the loan agreement and any other credit facilities to the Energy Transfer Family of Partnerships.

• A public statement is made by Citi on how it will act on the issues identified above.

TD Bank, Bank of America, Suntrust and Goldman Sachs are among the other financial institutions backing the project and the subjects of ongoing protest.

DNB, the largest bank in Norway, recently decided to sell its assets invested in the companies behind the pipeline and is exploring the possibility of terminating its loans as well, which amount for 10 percent of the project.

ING also has expressed concerns about the project and its impacts to the Standing Rock Sioux.

“We are confident that people power can stop this ill-conceived pipeline,” said Sweeters. “Whether it be through the banks pulling their loans or the (Obama) administration pulling the permitting, it’s time to listen to Standing Rock and all the Indigenous communities demanding action.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has delayed a decision on an easement for the pipeline to allow for additional analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The original permitting for the pipeline was fast tracked without adequate tribal consultation and consent or environmental review.

With Donald Trump’s presidency on the horizon, calls have grown stronger for Barack Obama to designate a national monument to permanently protect Standing Rock.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman responds to governor’s evacuation order

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault II issued this statement in response to North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s executive order calling for the mandatory evacuation of the camps for Dakota Access pipeline protesters:

Today, Gov. Dalrymple issued an executive order calling for mandatory evacuation of all campers located on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands, also known as the Oceti Sakowin camp.

This state executive order is a menacing action meant to cause fear and is a blatant attempt by the state and local officials to usurp and circumvent federal authority.

The USACE has clearly stated that it does not intend to forcibly remove campers from federal property.

The governor cites harsh weather conditions and the threat to human life.

As I have stated previously, the most dangerous thing we can do is force well-situated campers from their shelters and into the cold.

If the true concern is for public safety than the governor should clear the blockade and the county law enforcement should cease all use of flash grenades, high-pressure water cannons in freezing temperatures, dog kennels for temporary human jails, and any harmful weaponry against human beings.

This is a clear stretch of state emergency management authority and a further attempt to abuse and humiliate the water protectors.

The state has since clarified that they won’t be deploying law enforcement to forcibly remove campers, but we are wary that this executive order will enable further human rights violations.

On the Web

Learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at standwithstandingrock.net. For incremental updates please follow our Facebook page at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or follow us on Twitter @standingrockst.

Violence in North Dakota: Water protectors attacked at barricade

More than 100 water protectors from the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone Camps mobilized to a bridge to remove a barricade that was built by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and the state of North Dakota.

The barricade, built after law enforcement raided the 1851 treaty camp, restricts North Dakota residents from using the 1806 freely and also puts the community of Cannon Ball, the camps, and the Standing Rock Tribe at risk as emergency services are unable to use that highway.

Water Protectors used a semi-truck to remove two burned military trucks from the road and were successful at removing one truck from the bridge before police began to attack Water Protectors with tear gas, water canons, mace, rubber bullets, and sound cannons.

At 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, the Indigenous Rising Media team acquired an update from the Oceti Sakowin Medic team that nearly 200 people were injured, 12 people were hospitalized for head injuries, and one elder went into cardiac arrest at the front lines.

At this time, law enforcement was still firing rubber bullets and the water cannon at Water Protectors. About 500 Water protectors gathered at the peak of the non-violent direct action.

A statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network…

The North Dakota law enforcement are cowards. Those who are hired to protect citizens attacked peaceful water protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures and targeted their weapons at people’s’ faces and heads.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, the North Dakota State Patrol, and the Governor of North Dakota are committing crimes against humanity. They are accomplices with the Dakota Access Pipeline LLC and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners in a conspiracy to protect the corporation’s illegal activities.

Anyone investing and bankrolling these companies are accomplices. If President Obama does nothing to stop this inhumane treatment of this country’s original inhabitants, he will become an accomplice. And there is no doubt that President Elect Donald Trump is already an accomplice as he is invested in DAPL”

National day of action set to protest Dakota Access Pipeline

A national day of action will take place Tuesday, Nov. 15, to call for a permanent rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the threat of a Donald Trump presidency.

This call to action from indigenous leaders at Standing Rock, North Dakota, is in response to increased violent repression from militarized police as the pipeline company continues construction on sacred land despite a voluntary hold by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to a news release from organizers.

More than 200 actions have been planned, with thousands of people expected to participate.

The Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth is coordinating the effort in solidarity with indigenous peoples at Standing Rock and with support from other climate and social justice groups across the country, including: 350.org, Native Organizers Alliance, National Nurses United, Hip Hop Caucus, CREDO, BOLD Alliance, Greenpeace USA, Beyond Extreme Energy, Rainforest Action Network, Stand.earth, Oil Change International, Our Revolution, Center for Popular Democracy, Powershift Network, Earthworks, Food and Water Watch, Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ, Center for Biological Diversity, Daily Kos, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Iraq Veterans against the War, Ruckus Society, Friends of the Earth, Climate Hawks Vote, and many more.

Actions will be held in Washington, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and dozens of other cities across the country and worldwide.

A list of actions and partner organizations can be found here, including details for actions in Wisconsin cities of Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison and Stevens Point.

Review finds flaws in environmental assessment of Dakota Access Pipeline

An independent expert hired by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the federal government’s environmental assessment of the pipeline’s impact was inadequate.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II now has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reassess its conclusion that the pipeline crossing will not affect tribal members.

“This underscores one of the fundamental deficiencies of the Final Environmental Assessment—it assumes, without foundation, that placing a massive oil pipeline just upstream from the Reservation presents no risk to the Tribe,” Archambault wrote in his letter to assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy.

An oil spill at Standing Rock would also impact an estimated 17 million people located down stream from the river, according to Richard Kuprewicz of Accufacts, Inc., a consulting firm that advises government agencies and industry about pipelines.

Accufacts analyzed the government’s environmental assessment on the pipeline and found the Army Corps of Engineers failed to address pipeline safety and the risk the pipeline poses to the waters of Lake Oahe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which draws its drinking water from that lake.

The analysis indicated the assessment significantly underestimated the risk of an oil spill into sensitive areas .

Additionally, the report documented:

• Shoddy pipeline construction

• The risks posed by landslides were underestimated

• Lack of proper safety constructions to contain spills

• Failure to review impact to residents and environment downstream of the site

• A risk review of industry spills and containment at similar sites that document problematic regulatory oversight of the industry in North Dakota

“Mr. Kuprewicz’s findings reflect the common sense point that was somehow lost in the Final Environmental Analysis—that pipelines leak, and that when they do so there are often devastating consequences, particularly when the leak contaminates water,” Archambault wrote in his letter to Darcy. “The public record is filled with examples which further substantiate this point.”

The failure of the Army Corps to adequately assess oil spill risks from the pipeline also raises significant questions about whether the Corp’s review is legally adequate, according to the Standing Rock leader.

“The law requires a full and transparent analysis of risks like oil spills prior to issuance of a federal permit. It’s clear that never happened here,” added Jan Hasselman, who represents the tribe in its litigation against the Army Corps. “We expect the Corps to give this new report close consideration as it determines whether to move ahead with the permits needed to cross the Missouri River—permits that Dakota Access didn’t have before starting construction of the pipeline.”

In light of the report and the deficiencies contained in the environmental assessment, Archambault asked for the government to reconsider its early decisions and disallow the easement for the pipeline crossing.

Police forcibly remove Dakota Access pipeline protesters

Continue reading Police forcibly remove Dakota Access pipeline protesters

Youth travel from Standing Rock to NYC to urge Clinton to take a stand

Young people from Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires and the Standing Rock Sioux Nation traveled this week to Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in New York City to call on her to speak out against the Dakota Access pipeline.

The group also visited Trump tower to urge the Republican candidate to weigh in.

Some remarks made by the young demonstrators:

“We made treaties and agreements. A violation of a native treaty is a violation of federal law. By refusing to stand against DAPL, Hillary is putting our environment, wildlife, culture and land at risk.” — William Brownotter, 16

“As a young person I want to know what the next four years are going to entail. Is Hillary going to be focused on protecting our land? I want to know if my younger family is going to be safe. Our present situation is in dire need of a leader that still remembers that our kids are here. We want to protect the future for the young ones that come after us. I’m here to support my family.” — Garrett Hairychin, 23

“We are coming directly to Hillary at her headquarters because as the future president, she is going to have to work for us, and we want her to uphold the treaties and her promise to protect unci maka (Mother Earth).” — Gracey Claymore, 19

“Young people need to speak up and not be scared of adult leaders. We are left to take care of what they mess up.” — Marilyn Fox, 18

“We are here to tell Hillary how badly we need to protect the water. We didn’t come all the way to NY for nothing. We didn’t run all the way to Omaha or DC for nothing. We want to ask Hillary if she wants to see her great-grandkids line up for water rations.” — Adam Palaniuk Killsalive, 18, who is one of the Ocheti Sakowin Runners

“With the land and the water, we don’t speak their language. But we understand enough to know that they are hurting, and need our protection.” — Danny Grassrope, 24

Greenpeace spokeswoman Lilian Molina, encouraging the delegation, said, “Now is the time for Hillary Clinton to prove her commitment to both strong climate action and Indigenous sovereignty. Silence is not acceptable. Waiting is not acceptable. We are grateful for the young people who have traveled so far to say enough is enough. If you claim to be a climate champion, that means respecting Indigenous sovereignty, rejecting new pipelines, and keeping dangerous fossil fuels in the ground.”

A large and growing community, led by indigenous groups, has come together to protest the planned Dakota Access pipeline.

Thousands of people have gathered at a series of encampments on the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux in opposition to the pipeline’s construction.

Additionally, more than 300 tribes have joined in solidarity, as well as 21 city and county governments and some national politicians, including U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

A statement from the youth group said, “The Dakota Access pipeline is a direct violation of the sovereign rights and culture of the Standing Rock Sioux, placing serious risk to the nation’s water supply, violating federal trust responsibilities guaranteed through treaties with the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes and desecrating burial and other historical sites.”

On the Web

The letter to Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump owns stock in Dakota Access oil pipeline

Financial disclosures show GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump owns stock in the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper.

Federal disclosure forms for Trump, filed in May, show he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which intends to merge with Enbridge.

That’s down from stock listed at between $500,000 and $1 million in a form a year earlier.

Trump’s disclosure form also shows the presidential candidate holds between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66 stock, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

Also, The Guardian reported that campaign contribution disclosures show Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated $3,000 to Trump’s campaign, plus $100,000 to a committee supporting Trump’s candidacy, as well as $66,800 to the Republican National Committee.