Dakota Access Pipeline plan still on despite protests across the US and world
13th September 2016
The company behind a controversial pipeline project near native American land in North Dakota has vowed to press ahead, despite the plan sparking protests across the world on Tuesday. Protests are taking place in the US, Europe, Japan and New Zealand over the $3. 8bn Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Standing Rock Sioux tribe claims threatens their water supply and cultural heritage.
Rallies have taken place in cities including New York City, Los Angeles and London, where an banner was dangled in front of the Palace of Westminster. In one of 100 protests across the US, Senator Bernie Sanders, CNN pundit Van Jones and Native American leaders are to address hundreds of people gathered outside the White House. Sanders said the pipeline must be stopped “once and for all”.
On Friday, a federal judge rejected a legal attempt by tribal leaders to stop work on the pipeline, which will funnel oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Shortly after the decision, however, the federal government said it would stop work that occurs on federal land to see whether it should “reconsider any of its previous decisions” to allow the project to proceed. But Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, insisted that the project would continue.
“We intend to meet with officials in Washington to understand their position and reiterate our commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation,” Warren said. “We respect the constitutional right of all assembled in North Dakota to voice their opinions for or against projects like ours. However, threats and attacks on our employees, their families and our contractors as well as the destruction of equipment and encroachment on private property must not be tolerated.
” Warren said the pipeline was designed with “tremendous safety factors” that negate any risk to the water supply from an oil spill. He added that Energy Transfer “values and respects cultural diversity” but that no sacred Native American items have been found along the route of the pipeline. Dozens of different tribes have gathered at a protest camp near the pipeline construction site in North Dakota, which has led to occasional clashes with police and security guards.
Several arrests have been made, with journalist Amy Goodman issued with a warrant after she went to the camp to report on the protests. In total, the pipeline will make 200 river crossings, including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, in four states. The US army corp of engineers, which has jurisdiction over pipelines that cross major waterways, approved the Dakota Access plan despite warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that leaking oil could pollute the rivers.
The pipeline was originally meant to run near the city of Bismarck, which has an overwhelmingly white population, before objections resulted in it being relocated to a site near Native American land. Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said the pipeline has “already led to the destruction of our sacred sites”. “It is unfortunate that the corporate world chooses to ignore the millions of people and hundreds of tribal nations who stand in opposition to the destruction of our lands, resources, waters, and sacred sites,” he said.
“Energy Transfer Partners has demonstrated time and time again that the bottom line for them is money. The bottom line for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is and will always be protecting our lands, people, water and sacred sites from the devastation of this pipeline. “Our fight isn’t over until there is permanent protection of our people and resources from the pipeline.
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