DAPL Construction Continues in Violation of the Law
Celebration, as always, was premature.
Energy Transfer Partners, in a brazen defiance of the Army Corps of Engineers and the will of the people of Standing Rock, have announced that they will defy the administration’s order to deny the easement required for their drilling and continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. They will pay a fine of $50,000 per day for the violation, with the assumption that the incoming administration will reverse the order and potentially forgive the fines.
They are probably right. The president elect and his team have said many times that environmental regulations are simply a drain on the economy, that climate change is a Chinese hoax, and that mass protest should be met with brute force. Trump isn’t smart enough to have considered native sovereignty, but I’m sure that when asked for comment he will find his inspiration from Andrew Jackson.
Activists on the ground are reporting that construction will continue to bring the pipeline under the Missouri River, threatening critical water resources and violating sacred land. If the company continues to build despite a loss of permit, it’s unlikely that the police will stop their attacks on peaceful water protectors and turn their hoses on the true violators – Energy Transfer Partners and their contractors. And as viable legal means to stop this construction are disregarded, ETP invites more drastic measures to stop their efforts, including sabotage. When you ignore the law and use force to threaten the lives and safety of the population, you forfeit all claim to the higher ground and insist on non-violence.
Even if ETP is forced to reroute the DAPL away from sacred lands, they will seek to complete the pipeline and start the flow of oil. The end goal for this protest was always to stop the march of carbon death into our atmosphere. That it was native people who stood up to stop this development shows that they alone had the courage and selflessness to do what it takes to make this change. But simply moving it off “their land” does not remove the danger or the obligation, which all of us have, to stand in front of every cement truck that seeks to intern our health, wildlife, and our climate. It’s selfish of us to rely on native people to do this for us, or to relax after their hard earned victory. It’s up to us to stand against these projects and insist that the era of oil is over, for good.