They say it's the biggest gathering of Native Americans in 100 years.
September 4, 2016 10:46 PM   Subscribe

Last week, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota emerged as climate change heroes when, with little political clout or media spotlight, they halted construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. The defiance, based on a desire to protect both Sioux burial grounds and the waters of the Missouri River, evoked America’s ugly racial past—and present. “It feels like 1875 because Natives are still fighting for our land,” tweeted Native American writer Sherman Alexie, about a week before the pipeline security loosed attack dogs on the protesters, causing the internet to compare images of the ensuing chaos to images of Selma in 1965. A delegation from Black Lives Matter has visited the resistance camp, as have Amnesty International and MSNBC. But it's not the non-Native visitors who are the most interesting: what may be most important about the Standing Rock camps is that they have brought about the greatest gathering of Native Americans in more than a century. "Not since Little Big Horn have we stood together in this way," wrote one camp organizer. "The heart of the aboriginal world has been reawakened."

"Many at the encampment speak of two prophecies, dating back to the 1890s. A leader called Black Elk foretold that in seven generations, the Native American nations will unite to save the Earth; another legend predicted that a zuzeca snake – a black snake – would threaten the world. For many of the protesters here, the pipeline is that black snake. They are the seventh generation: their moment of destiny has come."

"That afternoon, the Crow Nation marched into camp in war bonnets, waving flags, singing and whooping, bearing a peace pipe and a load of buffalo meat, offering the first real reconciliation since 1876, when Crows were scouts for Custer at Little Bighorn, where the U.S Cavalry got its ever-loving ass kicked by the Lakota. At last count, representatives from more than 120 tribal nations had arrived from as far as Hawaii, Maine, California, and Mississippi. But when I asked LittleSun if he’d felt uneasy here, he shook his head emphatically, and a smile spread over his face. 'This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,' he said."

Telesur: Tribal Dakota Pipeline The Start of Something Bigger
BBC: Life in the Native American Oil Protest Camps
Facebook: The Sacred Stone Camp
posted by hungrytiger (115 comments total) 172 users marked this as a favorite
posted by From Bklyn at 11:24 PM on September 4, 2016 [26 favorites]

Crying in my curry over here. This is gorgeous.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:29 PM on September 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

it was bound to happen eventually
posted by philip-random at 11:49 PM on September 4, 2016

Been seeing A LOT of pictures and posts about this getting attention from folks back home in the Dakotas, both north and south. It's woken a lot of non-native people up to these issues. One thing that I've noticed both here and in other native protests is a huge number of elderly native people, some who were active back when AIM was in its most active years, and a equally large number of young people, including kids, getting very involved. It's a truly glorious inter-generational action.

This kind of protest can work, it has worked. I had the chance to visit the camp set up to protest a taconite mine that similarly threatened water safety for a tribe in the Penokee Hills in northern WI, and with a combination of occupation and legal action they got the project canceled.

This is a truly fantastic thing to see. Believe them when they say they will stand against this no matter the decision on the 9th. They are going fucking nowhere without this pipeline shut down.
posted by neonrev at 11:59 PM on September 4, 2016 [38 favorites]

I am overjoyed for the protesters, and support their actions.

I am depressed because I think I've learned enough from history to have an inkling into how this is going to end.
posted by mikelieman at 12:00 AM on September 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

I hope from the bottom of my heart that these recent protests and successes mark a turning point in native and environmental history. This is not just a group of protesters, this is a gathering of sovereign tribes with treaties and deals with the federal government demanding to be heard.
posted by neonrev at 12:02 AM on September 5, 2016 [38 favorites]

It doesn't always end with the pipeline winning. For instance, the Lummi Nation in Washington shut down a proposed coal terminal just last year because it was going to infringe upon their treaty fishing rights.
posted by hungrytiger at 12:02 AM on September 5, 2016 [32 favorites]

posted by branravenraven at 12:03 AM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have seen a similar thing happen here in Australia over fossil fuel developments and despoliation. Indigenous people mixing with grandmothers (Knitting Nannas) mixing with conservative farming folk, all working together for country and water. As an activist from the old days, I am humbled by the passion and intelligence of this new indigenous-led movement to save country and culture.

Many of us over here are following and applauding and supporting the Dakota movement. All power to them!
posted by Thella at 12:06 AM on September 5, 2016 [13 favorites]

Oh yeah I forgot to mention that there are also farmers and non-native folks opposing the Dakota Access pipeline across its projected path (S.Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa). An 85-year-old woman got arrested in Iowa last week for civil disobedience with regards to this pipeline. I think she was part of something called "100 Grannies for a Livable, Fossil Free Future."
posted by hungrytiger at 12:13 AM on September 5, 2016 [12 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. I started drafting an FPP on the same topic about a week ago but felt I couldn't do the story justice. I also felt that the media had been very slow to pick up the story and as such there were basic facts about what was going on that I just wasn't able to find, which was really frustrating. I'm glad the story has gotten better - as has the coverage - since.
posted by the marble index at 12:31 AM on September 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thank you for this post.
posted by one teak forest at 1:08 AM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

A leader called Black Elk [...]

If you haven't yet read Black Elk, do so. It's even online: Black Elk Speaks. The Great Vision is here.
I was still on my bay horse, and once more I felt the riders of the west, the north, the east, the south, behind me in formation, as before, and we were going east. I looked ahead and saw the mountains there with rocks and forests on them, and from the mountains flashed all colors upward to the heavens. Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

Then as I stood there, two men were coming from the east, head first like arrows flying, and between them rose the day-break star. They came and gave a herb to me and said: "With this on earth you shall undertake anything and do it." It was the day-break-star herb, the herb of understanding, and they told me to drop it on the earth. I saw it falling far, and when it struck the earth it rooted and grew and flowered, four blossoms on one stem, a blue, a white, a scarlet, and a yellow; and the rays from these streamed upward to the heavens so that all creatures saw it and in no place was there darkness.

Then the Voice said: "Your Six Grandfathers - now you shall go back to them."
posted by fraula at 2:00 AM on September 5, 2016 [44 favorites]

As a tribal member from Alabama, those dogs being siced on the protesters is a singular reminder of how the poweful, and let's be blunt that's generally (and specifically in this video in particular) embodied by the white male, is keen and quick to subjugate, punish, and otherwise terrorize those that either stand in their way or simply want to be left unfucked with.

I hope these folks, powerful though they may be in their aggregation, have luck. The cynical and history book reading part of me knows better than to hope overmuch.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:47 AM on September 5, 2016 [36 favorites]

There's also a petition at white you can sign and you can send money or supplies through the address provided (mentions the ways you can help at their website).

You can donate online directly to the legal fund and to supply the camp through their provided donation links. While they met their first goal for the supplies (not the legal fund), the amount of people staying there is growing and they could use whatever help people are up for!
posted by xarnop at 5:40 AM on September 5, 2016 [24 favorites]

They also mention "You can donate money or supplies, or help us spread the word by following us on social media and sharing our posts. If you have legal or media skills to offer, please contact us."
posted by xarnop at 5:45 AM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

That dogs were used on the peaceful protesters just turns my stomach.

I didn't notice guns in Oregon when the Bundy protest went down.

It's all about white and corporate privilege.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:16 AM on September 5, 2016 [24 favorites]

I've been tweeting with a friend who's an archaeologist about this; we're baffled by how this got through environmental review. Something this big needs a lot of both federal and state environmental review, and if there's a chance of indirect effects on treaty-protected Tribal rights, the project proponent can't just ignore that.

I would love to get a look at the Environmental Justice section of this EIS.
posted by suelac at 7:45 AM on September 5, 2016 [23 favorites]

Note too that those people with the dogs are Private Contractors, NOT police. It's unclear, but I've heard suggestions that they are actually Academi... formerly known as Blackwater.
posted by RedEmma at 8:10 AM on September 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

I personally know several people from our local Rez who have gone to Standing Rock. In fact the Yakama Nation filled a semi-truck with bottled water and fresh produce. Three of these friends were also delegates for Senator Sanders at the Democratic Convention.
Out of all the people who have contended for the office of President of the United States, Senator Sanders was the FIRST to lend his support to the Standing Rock action. You can't drink oil you must drink water.
Also disrespecting the graves of the dead is not alright. Setting dogs on people is not right.
In Selma that was the beginning of the end for segregation.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2016 [23 favorites]

I read the security folks are from a company called G4S. They bought Wackenhut and run ill-reputed prisons on the US-Mexico border as well as ill-reputed prisons by Israel for Palestinians. And not that it's relevant, exactly, but Omar Mateen worked for them.

God, when I think of Omar Mateen it just makes this summer seem unbelievably long and disturbing.
posted by hungrytiger at 8:36 AM on September 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

@ hungrytiger: I did not know that about Ar Matern, or the company with the dogs. :( Thanks for the information!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:41 AM on September 5, 2016

i've been tweeting with a friend who's an archaeologist about this; we're baffled by how this got through environmental review.

It didn't really. The EPA, the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all weighed in that they thought the Corps had more work to do to solve the water question, but the Corps blew them off, sounds like.
posted by hungrytiger at 8:43 AM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

...Upon further consideration, I'm not sure that the security company is G4S. People are saying so, but mostly on Facebook and blogs. In a climate like this, with violence and not much news media, rumors can really take off. (Though of course they propagate when the news media is around too.)
posted by hungrytiger at 8:55 AM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's all about white and corporate privilege.

While I certainly understand the racial dimensions of any protest in the U.S., and the inextrictability of race/power/privilege from any social or political issue, this is foremost about money and greed. Those protestors are being attacked because of money, specifically the huge piles of it they will prevent some people from getting if this pipeline is stopped.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:04 AM on September 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

I don't think you can ever separate out money, privilege and race in this country.
posted by maxsparber at 9:06 AM on September 5, 2016 [16 favorites]

Sophie Yanow did an informative comic about the protests at Standing Rock for The Nib where she talks about how the pipeline is being built in small enough sections to avoid having to do an EIS.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

Also: I didn't notice guns in Oregon when the Bundy protest went down.

I expect that Robert Finicum would disagree with you, were he still alive to do so. (From all accounts, he brought that upon himself, but let's not pretend there were no guns on the law enforcement side there.)

I don't think you can ever separate out money, privilege and race in this country.

Of course not (hence the first 2/3s of my first sentence in that comment, where I literally used the term 'inextricability'). My point is that it is obfuscatory to foreground that, when this--from the perspective of those trying to build the pipeline and profit from its damage--is about money. They are not doing this to oppress anyone (even if that's a prominent side effect), they are doing it to get more rich.

People should be held accountable for the base cynicism and destructiveness of their real motives, and it looks to me like this is why the protesters are there: this is about the sacredness of our planet and environment above mere profit. Which is why I'm saying I think it's important to keep that message front and center: the protesters are not there for themselves primarily, they are there for all of us and for the planet that we all live on and the natural environment we all need to survive, that some greedy assholes want to further despoil for more damn profit. They are there to rescue us from ourselves.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2016 [9 favorites]

The evil fuckers when through and dozed the sacred sites, in a large swath. Even under injunction they just went ahead. I have to say I am sick of the power of big oil. I am especially sick of the disrespect of American citizens who were here first, whose cemeteries and ritual areas mark the time they have spent here, and the respect in which they hold the Earth and their ancestors. I am opposed to the scouring of this planet and its waters for profit. As a photographer I am tired of removing the evidence of our misuse of wild spaces, in order to restore the views so naggingly usurped by visual marks of the energy industries. Setting dogs loose on humans is wrong for both the dogs and the humans. This country is full of private security people who are not held to accounts and law like local to national government agencies. Though the murderous heavy handedness of local law enforcement has been the headline for years now.

I live in Utah where the native histories are preempted by crazy local mythology, crafted to excuse cultural genocide, and the rewriting of origins and history of Native peoples of the US. I am sick of it all. I wish my friends up at Standing Rock, well.

I want the private armies disbanded and made illegal, I want the private prisons closed, and we have plenty of ways to ship crude without giving wide swaths of our nation to private profiteers. I want the legislation turned around the Bush created for his friends in the energy and infrastructure business, where huge areas, once available to the public, are fenced, sequestered and guarded by these folks. The Army corps of engineers are completely impotent when it comes to protecting resources of any kind but owned by oligarchy. If you think this is not true, check out the death of half of Great Salt Lake, where the corps can't mandate a flow system that keeps both halves equal and alive.

All you ever hear in mainstream media is the anti propaganda about Native American citizens of the US. The US is still rationalizing the theft of lands, and genocide.
posted by Oyéah at 9:44 AM on September 5, 2016 [21 favorites]

90 percent of the racial oppression is this country isn't done specifically to oppress someone, but instead because it benefits someone white. I would be very cautious with "it's not race, it's money" arguments, because it tends to minimize the racial aspect, which shouldn't be minimized.
posted by maxsparber at 9:44 AM on September 5, 2016 [27 favorites]

I have been watching this from the sidelines since it began, thanks to some Native American twitter accounts. I have no idea what the eventual outcome for the pipeline may be, but the Native empowerment that this seems to be fostering is very encouraging. I'm 3 generations removed & utterly acculturated from my Kainai ancestors & thousands of miles away, but I wholeheartedly support this movement. If you want to materially support the camp, please donate here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:52 AM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

I would be very cautious with "it's not race, it's money" arguments, because it tends to minimize the racial aspect, which shouldn't be minimized.

Please don't reduce my comments to this mindlessly binary characterization: you are creating a straw-man here, and preventing the kind of thoughtful discourse you appear to be policing for.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:57 AM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

A few thoughts re: the bigger picture:

-A ton of fossil fuels are being extracted in middle America/middle Canada and dozens of pipelines, rail lines etc are being proposed to get said oil out of the continent. See, for instance, this amazing map showing 28 fossil export paths proposed for the Pacific Northwest alone. Part of the rush to build infrastructure is the desire to get product to Asia, but a lot of the impetus to build infrastructure is also the desire to marry us to fossil fuels. Once a pipeline is built, once Citigroup has invested millions and millions into it, once we ALREADY dug up the burial grounds and eminent domained the farmers and etc., well we're going to use it, it's not like we'd let it lie fallow.

--Native nations resisting fossil fuel infrastructure is also a larger phenomenon. The Quinault are resisting an oil terminal in Grey's Harbor. The Yakama, Lummi and Warm Springs nations are fighting fossil transport through the Columbia Gorge. The Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation have been physically camping out -- building a little fortress in British Columbia to block three pipelines. And so on.

--The Lummi, who I mentioned above as having won their battle against a coal terminal whose installation would endanger their fishing rights, have also been doing this thing for several years where they carve a 3000-pound totem pole as a symbol of strength and resistance and carry it around the continent to different tribes who are fighting that fight. I became aware of the Lummi last year because last year's pole came to my town; I watched on Facebook this year as they arrived at Standing Rock.

The fight for the Standing Rock reservation and its water is important both in itself, and in its universality...
posted by hungrytiger at 10:13 AM on September 5, 2016 [32 favorites]

And a few thoughts about the specific-to-Standing-Rock picture:

--The pipeline was originally slated to be further north, but they moved it to Standing Rock because they said they didn't want it that close to the city of Bismarck's drinking water.

--The place where the Missouri River and the Cannonball River met used to be a whirlpool that created spherical sandstones. The Sioux called it Inyan Wakangapi Wakpa, River that Makes the Sacred Stones. Then the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the Cannonball in 1950 to create a dam, and they flooded the area. The rivers don't make those stones any more.

--The Standing Rock tribe filed in court on Friday disclosing that together with an archaeologist they'd determined the area just north of the reservation contained burial and prayer sites. On Saturday, Energy Transfer was in there with bulldozers and attack dogs -- some think so they could say "oops it's done already, sorry!"
posted by hungrytiger at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2016 [21 favorites]

--The Standing Rock tribe filed in court on Friday disclosing that together with an archaeologist they'd determined the area just north of the reservation contained burial and prayer sites. On Saturday, Energy Transfer was in there with bulldozers and attack dogs -- some think so they could say "oops it's done already, sorry!"

That's basically exactly what they tried to do in the Penokee Hills, get tentative approval and then rush the start of the construction so by the time the various federal agencies involved got their act together to halt it the damage would have already been done. They also had called in private security armed with guns and dogs to intimidate the protesters, though in that case state and local law actually forced them to leave, as it was a very broadly unpopular decision to bring in out-of-state mercenaries toting AR-15s to threaten locals and was in violation of some ordinance. That doesn't appear to be the case here though.

Something I have noticed that blows my mind is a couple of full-on Trumpers I know supporting the protest. I don't know if it's a case of a stopped clock being right for once, or if watching the up and down nature of the ND oil industry has finally put to rest the lie of oil pipelines creating jobs, or if it's just pure farmer self-interest coming into play, but some of the exact same people who were very upset by the renaming of Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak are equally upset by the idea of the pipeline being built. It's very odd.
posted by neonrev at 10:53 AM on September 5, 2016 [9 favorites]

Something I have noticed that blows my mind is a couple of full-on Trumpers I know supporting the protest.

I think it could appeal to people from a property rights standpoint. Does anyone feel good about eminent domain?
posted by hungrytiger at 11:08 AM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Speaking of Alabama tribal responses to this, our tribe also just passed a resolution supporting the folks opposing the pipeline and, as I heard from my mom who is far more keyed into actions taken at the tribe, voted to donate $20k to the same, though I can't verify that via anything on the website. I believe her but still wanted to read it. I wish it was more, but hey, nothing to sneer at.

Some of our folks are even talking of making a trip out to join the protesters, despite it being a moonshot I'm nudging my parents to make it a road trip and go. We'll see...
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:35 PM on September 5, 2016 [11 favorites]

In coastal Maine, the Passamaquoddy Tribe recently was instrumental in defeating a series of LNG pipeline and transfer terminal proposals on the bay that bears their name.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Please don't reduce my comments to this mindlessly binary characterization:

Oh my God. listen, take my point or leave it, but I'm telling you that you sound very much like you're saying this isn't so much about race as it is about money, which lefties have a long history of doing and is a wonderful way they avoid discussing race. If you're making a more nuanced point, I don't know that it is one that is especially helpful. And I'm not sure it helps your point to speak on behalf of the protesters and claim their motivations for them. When addressing the subject of race, go ahead and pull actual quotes from the protestors, rather than say what they mean for them.

Honestly, this is 101 stuff.
posted by maxsparber at 1:08 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Er, I may have conflated two separate posts from two people. Nonetheless, know there will be pushback when something starts sounding like "it's not race, it's class!"
posted by maxsparber at 1:09 PM on September 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

#NoDAPL is the Twitter hashtag I've been using to follow the protest.
posted by kyp at 1:14 PM on September 5, 2016

It didn't really. The EPA, the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all weighed in that they thought the Corps had more work to do to solve the water question, but the Corps blew them off, sounds like.

Ah, the Corps weasel-worded their way out. In the Corps Environmental Assessment they are only looking at the environmental effects where the project crosses open water or wetlands, a total of 30 acres (see the chart on page 17). This is bullshit but it's apparently how the Courts are interpreting the Corps' permitting jurisdiction, so the Corps doesn't have to own all the impacts of a thousand-mile project. The end result is that there is no single federal agency with authority over the project, and thus no single agency who has to look at impacts on water supplies, cultural resources and tribal treaty rights.

The bulk of the pipeline is not on public land, I guess, and so the proponents don't have to do a single big-picture document, but instead just get small permits and permissions from the individual property owners and states. The North Dakota and South Dakota Public Utilities Commission could have held them accountable, but are of course subject to local political pressure and don't much care about the Tribes' concerns.
posted by suelac at 1:41 PM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Apparently not only do we have the economic inequality of the late 1800s through early 1900s, but we also have the use of private goons by fossil fuel interests to quell what they see as threats to their bottom line again as well. Plus the shades of Little Big Horn.

First Nations have been leading the charge on protecting the environment in Canada too. While the oil companies are working from the same old playbook, the environmental defenders seem to be well prepared, organized, and determined, however. This gives me so much hope.
posted by eviemath at 1:47 PM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

I've been tweeting with a friend who's an archaeologist about this; we're baffled by how this got through environmental review. Something this big needs a lot of both federal and state environmental review, and if there's a chance of indirect effects on treaty-protected Tribal rights, the project proponent can't just ignore that.

I would love to get a look at the Environmental Justice section of this EIS.
posted by suelac at 7:45 AM on September 5 [16 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

I'm sorry, but as savvy as you are to know the laws of the United States, you are incredibly naive if you assume that an intra-nation, "Midstream", oil transport pipeline has an EIS, much less environmental justice review. Bypassing the law through legislative branch pressure and action is how oil and gas makes its money.

Of course, of course these pipelines don't follow the law, the executive agencies are pressured by congress and companies directly to use their discretion to expedite all of that CWA / NEPA stuff; especially when oil is valued as low per barrel as it is.

Furthermore, a tradition-bound bureaucracy like USACE doesn't take the Clean Water Act 404 duties that seriously; I would bet that most districts don't have anyone staffed to write Environmental Justice reviews. All regulatory staff can be re-tasked to navigation or flood fight duties when districts need the staff time for those missions.

So, You're lucky if the six or seven EPA staff nationwide who do such reviews have the time to request enough documentation from the USACE (assuming that the Corps has requested enough information in the application process) in order to do such a thing. The whole process you are dreaming of has been drowned in the bathtub, my friend.

These pipelines can't withstand that level of scrutiny; they are built on the premise of short term profit; an EIS can take up to three years--the pipelines are dreamed up by companies that plan for the next 5 years at most. Fracked wells last 2-5 years; a fracking boom in a particular field lasts less than 10 years. you think these companies are going to kill 3 years of 8 in an EIS? the 3 best years?

This pipeline, like many pipelines, was permitted under Nationwide 12 "Utility Line Activities."---no public notice.

The list of discretionary backflips required by USACE to permit this in the dark is long, but that kind of power over government is not unusual for an industry whose hazardous waste is declared "non-hazardous" by US Congressional Fiat.

Most oil pipelines go through the Gulf Coast states, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and many never see public notice, much less a finding of significant environmental impact. Because these are flyover states that national environmental funders do not give a shit about, going through lands of conservatives, the poor, and people of color, native americans, groups that the US environmental movement does not communicate with well, much less fund.

It's only the actions of native americans leading the charge that is bringing national attention to this issue. Groups like the Sierra Club and NWF have known about and fighting this problem with NWP 12 for a long time, but it hasn't come up because it hasn't affected the right people, sad to say.

So, yes, you are correct that this pipeline is breaking the law. Or, more precisely, the government is breaking the law and precedent when capriciously deciding to approve the pipeline without thorough environmental review,--> i'm saying that the companies are depending on the government to do so. elsewise, they will complain that the govt is "killing jobs." in the case of the international pipes, the companies can try the United States on lost earnings in NAFTA court.

I wish the environmental movement would pay more attention to the absolute murder of the spirit and letter of US law that the oil industry gets away with in petro states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

When the laws are allowed to be bypassed in these states, you get a whole industry that has operated on executive discretion for decades, built business plan after business plan into internal practices for decades, based upon flouting that law; that cancer then spreads across the country.

On the other hand, that is a great weakness of these companies, and all the more reason to pay attention to and fund native people and people of color in those "red" states who are fighting these issues.
posted by eustatic at 2:18 PM on September 5, 2016 [27 favorites]

Dakota Access Pipeline: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Archambault Calls on Obama for Aid
Archambault also alluded to President Barack Obama’s 2014 visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and his offer of help, noting that back then he did not ask the President for anything.

“I just showed him the reality of our lives,” Archambault said. “I believe both he and Michelle Obama were touched. So now if there’s any way he can intervene and move this pipeline off our treaty lands, I’m asking him.”
Now might be a good time, Mr. President...
posted by homunculus at 2:21 PM on September 5, 2016 [10 favorites]

Good news it looks like the petition I linked is not the predominant one being used and this one has gotten much more use--- it claims it has achieved the needed votes!!!
posted by xarnop at 2:33 PM on September 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

my apologies if i sound like a jerk, but honestly it gets tiring writing about these issues again and again. This may be the first time someone has written about Nationwide Permit 12 on Metafilter, though, so i'm grateful!

Sophie Yanow did an informative comic about the protests at Standing Rock for The Nib where she talks about how the pipeline is being built in small enough sections to avoid having to do an EIS.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:17 AM on September 5 [4 favorites −] [!]

this is called "piecemealing" and there is case law ruling that the USACE can't do it. but the USACE has other legal opinions. i call this an arbitrary and capricious discretionary "backflip."

My point is that the tribes have a good legal case, and are struggling with a major environmental policy issue that the (white) environmental wonks in DC have been struggling with for years. but the realities of money and Congre$$ are stacked against them--do they have any Senators on their side? Any Senators in charge of hiring the USACE leadership? If not, what can we outsider (white) people do to get US Senators to support these people who believe in basic rule of law?

Of course Obama can and should intervene; but those of use who care about the law in the US should think more deeply about this issue of pipelines, or i promise that this will come up again and again
posted by eustatic at 2:43 PM on September 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Clyde Bellecourt is one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, a significant civil rights group in the 1960s and 70s. In all his days fighting for Native American rights, he says he has never seen anything like the camps. "I am 80 years old," he said. "I've been jailed, I've been shot. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This is what I fought for."
BBC - Life in the Native American oil protest camps.
posted by adamvasco at 3:37 PM on September 5, 2016 [10 favorites]

this is called "piecemealing" and there is case law ruling that the USACE can't do it. but the USACE has other legal opinions.

Yup, I was in a training just last spring where they talked about a recent case that allowed the Corps to limit their review to just the stream crossings. I pointed out that this was a segmentation problem and results in insufficient review of the entire project, and the lawyers teaching the class agreed. (I don't remember the name of the case, may have been in Texas?)

The developers are assisted by legislators who only see the dollars associated with development and lobbying -- and even more by the chronic under-funding of resource agencies, whose staff are, generally, willing to hold project proponents to account, but who simply don't have the time and political support to make it happen. I work in an office that does a very small amount of regulatory work, and any time something comes in that smacks of politics, everyone gets really uneasy: our legit reviews are going to get ... massaged to match the desired narrative and make life easier for the executives and political appointees up our chain of command.

So I don't blame the GS-12 at the St Louis District of USACE much -- except for doing a bullshit EJ analysis that really should have been redone. (EPA pointed out they should have done the EJ analysis by census block rather than by county.) If I got that kind of EPA/ACHP comments on a draft EA, I would certainly have rewritten those sections: you don't just ignore regulatory comments like that.

And the trigger for an EIS over an EA includes "public controversy" -- which we now have.

Anyway, I'm digging through the EA and there's a sad lack of documentation of tribal interests here. However there is a requirement for DAPL to implement an Inadvertent Discovery Plan in case of discovery of subsurface cultural resources: they're supposed to stop work immediately and contact authorities, regardless of jurisdiction or land ownership. So DAPL is already in violation of the law, if that requirement was written into the permit -- which it should have been.

And the Tribal consultation was done by the Corps only for the areas they considered themselves to have jurisdiction over (see Page 68). I used to work with the St. Louis District: they really should know better. And the EA List of Preparers doesn't even identify the Corps staff who worked on it, which is a thing I don't think I've ever seen before.
posted by suelac at 4:18 PM on September 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

sleeping bear: Sophie Yanow did an informative comic about the protests at Standing Rock for The Nib where she talks about how the pipeline is being built in small enough sections to avoid having to do an EIS.

That's such bullshit. One of the basic details taught in general introductions to environmental regulations and planning courses for NEPA and related state protections, and stated by law offices is that regulations from White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and court precedent prohibit the practice of dividing a single action for separate NEPA review (referred to as “segmentation” or “piecemealing”) if each action does not have independent utility.

You can't chop up a major project to reduce the impact of each piece, or find other benefits.

Manning: ‘And Then the Dogs Came’: Dakota Access Gets Violent, Destroys Graves, Sacred Sites (Indian Country Today Media Network, Sept. 4, 2016)
This demolition is devastating. These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.” -Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman

On the afternoon of September 3, a procession of prayerful water defenders, consisting of men, women, and children, walked on foot up to the original protest site where the first demonstrations took place in early August.

Unbeknownst to them, Dakota Access construction workers were fast at work, approximately a mile up the road, bulldozing the earth, destroying graves and sacred sites, while creating a path for pipe to be laid.


“The women joined arms, and we started saying ‘Water is life!’ A dog came up and bit my leg, and right after that a man came up to us and maced the whole front line,” Young Bear said.

Young Bear and at least five others suffered injuries from dog bites, and approximately 30 others suffered temporary blindness after receiving a chemical spray to the face and eyes. A horse owned by a Native American water defender also suffered bite wounds from the dogs.

“They let one dog off his leash and ran loose into the crowd,” Frejo said. “That’s when people started protecting themselves against the dog. The guy that let his dog go came into the crowd to retrieve him and started swinging on everybody. He hit some young boys, and they defended themselves.”


The moment grew so intense that the dogs soon started to turn on their handlers. Dakota Access guards and dog handlers then left the scene, and more protestors flooded in. Construction indefinitely halted for the day.

“The cops watched the whole thing from up on the hills,” Frejo said. “It felt like they were trying to provoke us into being violent when we’re peaceful.”
Despite the lands of Native people having tribal sovereignty, similar to being separate countries within the US, they're treated like so many minorities whose voices are ignored and rights are trampled.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 PM on September 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

And a subsequent link: Hearing ordered after Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reports destruction of sacred sites (, Sept. 5, 2016)
Judge James E. Boasberg took action on Monday -- despite it being a federal holiday -- and ordered the parties to report to a hearing on Tuesday. It will take place at 3pm in Courtroom 19 of the federal courthouse in Washington D.C., the same place where the tribe asked for the preliminary injunction less than two weeks ago.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 PM on September 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thank you OP and the posters contributing, this is a great thread, really important, please keep posting.

Not calling out eustatic negatively with this reference, just using it as a starter. It is easy language to slip in to.

I wish the environmental movement would pay more attention to the absolute murder of the spirit and letter of US law that the oil industry gets away with in petro states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

I have no doubt that the general-large and specific-small environmental groups that focus on the petro states have a fixed eyeball on "the absolute murder of the spirit and letter of US law that the oil industry gets away with". That they cannot effect change, but they exist anyway, may suggest ignorance or lack of attention or naivety to some, to me it suggests resilience and perseverance. They are champions, probably burnt to a crisp champions working on low non-profit wages with heaps of unpaid overtime and low benefits. Sure, there may be some licking the cream but the majority will be paying a price for their vocation. Without many politicians on-side they will never have the resources to compete against petro corps but they try anyway because they know they play a role as avenues of action, as beacons of hope. That's heroic.

I wish the environmental movement would pay more attention to ...
Who is 'the environmental movement'? What is a 'movement'? What does that term mean? Besides the overworked employees mentioned above it means (substantially means) individuals volunteering and coming together for a common cause whose contextual focus is 'environmental' (as described by...?).

But what we are seeing with this campaign in North Dakota and a number in Australia (and many places elsewhere) is that 'environment' has a much deeper meaning for indigenous people. These campaigns are more than protestations of 'the environment movement', this is a gathering of colonial significance; this is post-colonialism in action. This is a seminal moment in history. Look outside the US for many other examples. There is a lot of collectivity happening, a lot of connectivity amongst indigenous groups using social media to organise and respond beyond the colonisers' supplied channels. They recognise that THIS, this stand against the grasping of greedy one-gen people keen on sucking the earth and climate to death, is The Last Stand. Note to self: never consider it an indigenous peoples' job to clean up the colonisers' catastrophes.

I wish the environmental movement would ...
This is almost akin to saying I wish the environment would... Everybody shares this planet with everybody else. We have a responsibility together to stop the exploitation/carbon pollution because it is obvious by what eustatic and others say above, the law doesn't do shit.

These people in 'the environment movement' have a lot of responsibility to carry. Not only do they have to carry their own baggage, and those of the fuckers they are trying to stop, but they have to carry the collective baggage of everyone who isn't in 'the environment movement' but would like an environment anyway. The baggage of people who criticise 'the environment movement' for not doing what they think they should, is particularly heavy.

Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet. ~ Alice Walker
posted by Thella at 3:47 AM on September 6, 2016 [8 favorites]

I mean the people with the money and organization, who don't spend so much money and effort in states with republican congressmen.
posted by eustatic at 5:17 AM on September 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

The biggest lesson I think that we're learning is that there is a huge difference between reading about and watching news about (events), and actually being here
posted by adamvasco at 2:02 PM on September 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

The TRO was granted in part but denied as to the area where protests took place. The court didn't have jurisdiction.

I'm not a litigator, but one would think that a competent attorney would confirm jurisdiction before filing. Is that incorrect?
posted by jpe at 2:11 PM on September 6, 2016

Partially taking that back. No injunction west of the river; not sure where protests were.
posted by jpe at 2:16 PM on September 6, 2016

The biggest lesson I think that we're learning is that there is a huge difference between reading about and watching news about (events), and actually being here

Yeah, there were videos of people getting bitten by dogs on Facebook Saturday afternoon, but what the Bismarck Tribune ran Saturday night was the pipeline's press release saying that a mob of protesters had attacked the pipeline security. Not even he said, she said. Just an angry mob attacking innocent security workers with sticks.

AP isn't exactly knocking it out of the park either.
posted by hungrytiger at 3:46 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

My mom was forwarding some pretty thorough doxing of the individual security folks as seen in the videos. Pretty nasty stuff and all but encouraging a mob to go to the persons's address (as it was provided) and enact revenge. I will be more than a bit surprised if we come out the far end of this protest without someone, be it observer or protester or contractor or security force, maimed or killed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:58 PM on September 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

We should call them what they are, mercenaries. They are mercenaries paid to threaten and physically harm peaceful and legal protesters, paid to sic dogs on people, people without morals or empathy. They don't even have the vague cover of the law to protect them, we don't even have the negligible legal power over them them that we have over the police. All we have is the hope that somewhere inside those shriveled hearts is the capacity to be shamed. I want their families to know what they did, their neighbors, their potential future employers, everyone.

As for violence, well, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. I don't expect them to be hurt, that's not the goal of the protesters (or me), but I wouldn't shed a tear if they were. Once you start siccing dogs on peaceful, legal protesters, families, elders, kids, you have dropped off the face of the social contract, you're a thug and a criminal and it's sickening that they'll probably receive more protection than people trying to keep their water clean.
posted by neonrev at 5:46 PM on September 6, 2016 [8 favorites]

If you watch the videos you can actually see the security people walking the dogs right up to the people to attack them who are just standing there. Try at 3:45.
posted by xarnop at 5:50 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

the threat of force is certainly not new to capitalist enclosure; i suppose i'm thankful that it's G4S security and not the local sheriff or US Marshals siccing the dogs on people, and these companies are using dogs instead of breaking people on the Catherine Wheel. When we look at the long history of treatment of native people, we've come a long way. At least the banks and the pipeline company have to pay for the dogs nowadays, and US Marshals may be the ones talking to the contractor soon enough.

I worry that EarthJustice (white enviro lawyers in DC) and the tribes will win something in court, but that win will be undermined by the state congressionals, who can pressure the Corps to continue to break the law, or re-write the law; and subvert Obama, if he takes action--the Senators and senior senators are especially important in what can happen.

This kind of willful subversion of the Clean Water Act is typical for New Orleans District USACE, in part because whomever the Colonel is is constantly threatened by the likes of Vitter, who is just a low-down crooked stooge for Big Oil. And Landrieu was no peach when she was in, either. It's not a wonder that Louisiana wetlands are half gone.

Mo Environment on the issues
would seem to say that McCaskill, a senior senator could weigh in, if she were asked by enough people. She's tied to Big Ag (duh, heartland), but not so much to Big Oil? anyone know?

But what i'm really troubled by is how the racial divide in the US environmental movement will keep wildlife and conservation groups from even thinking that this is their issue, when this is totally their issue. It's basic drinking water stuff. And Center for Biological Diversity is focused on pipes and Big Oil, they seem to think its the issue.

But if the white folks sit this out, the Tribes won't get enough numerical support to move Obama, or to move a McCaskill or a house rep to on their side. White people are the big numbers, and i'm worried that the optics of dogs will let white enviros put this in the 'civil rights' or 'EJ' category, the 'not my problem' category.

You constantly hear about how because pipelines are mostly underground, they have no impact on wildlife, and I wonder how much of that is because big enviro groups like Nature Conservancy are large landowners who want to deal with companies Corporation to Corporation.

This is a larger problem in the movement. The Enviro movement in the US needs a Michelle Alexander type, a lifer, a big wonky lawyer type from NWF or old white dude in the conservation groups in DC to come out and tour on how the govt is crippled, and these legal fights can't clean the water by themselves, and we need mass movement again--an inevitably that mass movement for the environment will have to build with anti racist movements like Black Lives Matter.

in the meantime, yes, those of us who care should visit this camp, or write about how pipelines in our lands are ripping up wetlands and polluting water.

Make no mistake, if they do this at Standing Rock, you are next, dear reader. I guess, especially if you are unlucky enough to live in the Mississippi Valley or between a big fracking play and their money. (cf Daniel Plainview "Why don't I own this?")

fracking is the thing that Clinton wants to export to the world. Pipelines everywhere to get from the plays to the refineries on the Gulf Coast.
posted by eustatic at 9:26 AM on September 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

PS, if people are disappointed in USACE, i would urge them to support National Wildlife Federation, they have some brilliant people on staff tracking the US Water Resources Development Act, the law that funds the USACE Regulatory program, and pays those GS-12s.

i think that funding has been capped at $200M for a while now, but i can't find that part of hte bill just now.
posted by eustatic at 10:29 AM on September 7, 2016

also big apology, since i've been confusing missouri for the missouri's not st louis district, it's Omaha district, it's not McCaskill, it's John Thune? ugh
posted by eustatic at 11:46 AM on September 7, 2016

Bill McKibben: A Pipeline Fight and America’s Dark Past
posted by homunculus at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners who’s PAC has helped bankroll campaigns of some of America’s most fervent climate change deniers.
posted by adamvasco at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2016

Obama deflects giving any real answer other than that he's failing to uphold his word or look into this properly when asked directly about it.
posted by xarnop at 3:03 PM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Once you start siccing dogs on peaceful, legal protesters

They were trespassing and violating a court order against blocking construction.
posted by jpe at 4:48 PM on September 8, 2016

North Dakota Governor Activates National Guard, Tribal Leaders Respond: "On Thursday, September 8, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple officially activated the National Guard to assist security near the site of the demonstrations near Standing Rock, alarming many campers, water protectors and supporters at the Oceti Sakowin camp along the river."
posted by homunculus at 5:20 PM on September 8, 2016

From that most recent link about the national guard:

Gov. Dalrymple said at a press conference that the National Guard has been called in only to keep all drivers and pedestrians safe. He said the Guard will be assisting state and county police in notifying drivers on Highway 1806 traveling south that there may be pedestrians on the road and that cars may be parked on the side of the road.

Uh, right.....

Go ahead and piss in our collective ears but don't try to tell us it's just rain Mr. Governor.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:55 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

jpe: They were trespassing and violating a court order against blocking construction.

So call the proper authorities! Holy shit, are you seriously saying they deserved to have dogs siced on them by a private company's employees for peacefully protesting? That's a serious question because I fully admit my cynical gauge is way, way out of calibration here recently due to American idiocy and policy in general so I must be misunderstanding you. I must be.

As a potential follow-up question do you think the Birmingham PD were also in the right to use water cannons and dogs in their little kerfuffle with progress that made the comparisons with this situation so apt? This is important.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:06 PM on September 8, 2016 [22 favorites]

I am worried for tomorrow.

There is a beautiful public piece on FB where the writer says not to fear the court judgement, because people will never stop fighting for what's right. Then she mentions the fact that the National Guard's been called in, saying

"...we aren't afraid, and I don't want you to be afraid either, because:


So many times in my life, when I would tell someone that I was Native, they would say 'I didn't know you guys still existed' or 'I thought you were all dead.' Well, now the world knows that WE ARE STILL HERE! in spite of the genocidal policies of the U.S. and other governments. We are still here...and you see us.

So don't worry about the National Guard, because we'll just sit and eat and visit with those guys - lots of them are Native! And don't be mad at Governor Dalrymple, because he is a snake...and you know the thing about snakes, don't you?

They're more afraid of you than you are of them."
posted by hungrytiger at 11:00 PM on September 8, 2016 [8 favorites]

ABC: North Dakota Tribe's Request to Stop Work on Pipeline Denied
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's attempt to halt construction of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline near their North Dakota reservation, a cause that has drawn thousands to join a protest, was denied Friday by a federal judge.
The ruling said that "this Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux" and that, given the federal government's history with the tribe, "the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here."
However, the DoJ and associated government entities have also released a joint statement announcing that they are withdrawing authorization for further construction around Lake Oahe pending reconsideration:
The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.

The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.

“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.

“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”
posted by kyp at 12:41 PM on September 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

The statement from the DoJ on behalf of the Army and DoI is incredible.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:12 PM on September 9, 2016

So wait-- the court said construction can go ahead, but the DoJ said it can't?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:19 PM on September 9, 2016

Yeah, having a hard time wrapping my head around this... the court ruled in favor of moving forward with the pipeline, but the DOJ/Army/Dept of Interior are halting anyway?

Did... did our government just make steps toward NOT shitting all over Native Americans?
posted by palomar at 1:34 PM on September 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Or am I being wildly over-optimistic?
posted by palomar at 1:34 PM on September 9, 2016

That's definitely what it sounds like, hard to believe as it may be.

The DoJ under Loretta Lynch has been an extremely impressive organisation. Keeping it intact should be a bigger bullet point under "reasons to vote for Clinton even if she's more centrist then you'd like" than it has been thus far.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have no problem repealing the Johnson Amendment. But that's because I want to repeal tax exemption for all churches and religious organizations.
posted by spitbull at 3:03 PM on September 9, 2016

tobascodagama, you just gave me a really excellent talking point for convincing people not to be daft and vote third party. Thank you!
posted by palomar at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

What does 'voluntarily pause' mean in this context? Is that legal language I don't understand, or can the pipeline company continue building if they choose?
posted by neonrev at 6:50 PM on September 9, 2016

Neonrev, I might be wrong but I think the DOJ/Corps/etc have some jurisdiction in public lands and in river crossings, but not much power in private land. And I think the area that got bulldozed with the burial grounds last weekend is on private land -- so they could go back and keep working that land, or not. I'd hope that the optics at this point would be too bad for them to go back against the request of the DOJ et al, but what do I know?

Semi-relatedly, I read an interesting article earlier today about how the Corps explored potential cultural/environmental damages to the Standing Rock Sioux only as relates to the two bore holes they'd make on either side of Lake Oahe. So the Corps' environmental review doesn't even include the tunnel beneath the river, let alone the impact of the pipeline 20 miles on either side. Isn't that bonkers?

Also, I just read that the Yankton Sioux in South Dakota are suing the Corps over the pipeline, too.
posted by hungrytiger at 10:08 PM on September 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, a little levity: I've been following the native comedian Dallas Goldtooth who's out there at Sacred Stone and he reposted some "camp pickup lines" written by the comedian Tito Ybarra:

Cannonball River Camps Snaggin lines. You can use em if you want they're unisex. Cause I ain't no c**k blocker.

● "Hey girl, I was wondering if you'd like to join me at my camp tonight for a little one on one non violent direct action?"

● "Hey girl, is that a pipeline in my pocket or am I just happy to see you having clean drinking water?"

● "Hey girl, did you see me at the blockade? I was the one with the bandana covering my face.

● "Hey girl, I think we need to call in a archaeologist cause you've been burried in my chante' all day."

● " Hey girl, elder stories and chill?"
posted by hungrytiger at 10:24 PM on September 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Lawrence O'Donnell did a very interesting Facebook Live about what he think got the Obama administration to act on this. Basically he thinks that when the Malaysian student in Laos asked Obama about the Dakota Access pipeline, it actually wasn't much on his radar, and then he got home this morning and saw it on the front cover of the New York Times and asked his staff about it. (O'Donnell also said that Chief Archambault had told O'Donnell things about what Obama had seen on his visit to Standing Rock in 2014, and that it seemed likely Obama would have emotions about the Standing Rock Sioux.)

O'Donnell said (and this seems like a pretty good analysis to me who knows nothing) that the chances were very slim that the DOJ and the Department of the Interior and the Army would call each other up independently. So he really thinks it was Obama's doing. And that it may all come down to the student in Laos having asked that question.

He also thinks that the next big hurdle for #nodapl folks is getting Hillary Clinton to say something in support of Obama's actions here.

All in all, an interesting half hour.
posted by hungrytiger at 11:28 PM on September 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Hungrytiger, thanks for the link to Gabe Galanda's editorial on the Section 106 issues. It's basically what I've been thinking since I first starting looking at this.

A brief primer on NHPA process: A federal agency that is undertaking an action (like building something or granting a permit) that could have an effect on a historic property eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places must consult with the State Historic Preservation Office, and with other interested parties such as local Tribes, regarding the effects. If an adverse effect is identified, the agency has to enter a Memorandum of Agreement with the SHPO (and possibly the Tribe) and give the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment.

One of the pieces of this consultation is a strict requirement to identify the Area of Potential Effect, which most certainly includes the area of indirect effects, and would also include geographic areas outside the jurisdiction of the federal agency. If my new federal office building ruins the historic landscape view from an NRHP-listed farmstead half a mile away, I have to acknowledge that, work to mitigate it, and enter a legally binding document to address those impacts. The APE defines the geographic scope of potential effects, and is usually far greater than the area of direct physical impact. The SHPO office I work with most frequently would never have allowed someone to claim that the APE was confined to the spot where the pipe would go underground, especially if the resources in question might include Tribal sacred sites.

On the other hand, the Corps' regulatory jurisdiction over work in and around wetlands is the source of much political hand-wringing and is a talking point for a lot of the property-rights fetishists on the right. They do not get why the Corps should be able to have a say on what they do on their own property, like fill a wetland to put in a new parking lot. So I suspect the Corps isn't fighting very hard to extend their jurisdiction: they want to limit their political & legal liability to the area they know they're responsible for.

However, the Corps is basically the only federal agency that is asserting any regulatory jurisdiction over these enormous pipeline projects at all. These are not public projects: if they were, there would be one consistent environmental review of the entire thing. But because they are privately funded and cross multiple independent jurisdictions, the reviews take place in a scattershot fashion, and without any single entity looking at the impact of the entire thing.

The Corps' regulatory jurisdiction over pipelines is limited by statute and case law to stream crossings, but in my experience, they could still require permit applicants to prove that the rest of the project complies with other federal law, such as the NHPA and the ESA. In this instance, however, they clearly didn't. And the individual jurisdictions, such as the States of North and South Dakota, apparently didn't pay much attention, either.

I assume it was for political reasons. Jobs! Cheap oil! (Stick it to the environmentalists!)
posted by suelac at 7:53 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wonder what it would take to create an entity whose job it was to oversee the entirety of pipeline projects and their impacts. Is that imaginable, or science fiction?
posted by hungrytiger at 12:04 PM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have an entity with the capacity to do that: it's the Department of Energy. They have a lot of expertise looking at environmental issues. But the regulatory structure right now in this country doesn't consider pipeline construction to require federal permits without some other kind of triggering issue (like crossing federal land or crossing a waterway).
posted by suelac at 4:17 PM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Arrest Warrant Issued for Amy Goodman in North Dakota After Covering Pipeline Protest

I tried to find stories about specific Native journalists or protesters being arrested or having arrest warrants issued for them in North Dakota, since Democracy Now! broadcasts have included footage that appears to be attributed to Native sources, but no luck.
posted by XMLicious at 7:59 AM on September 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

The spokesperson for the Red Warrior Camp (the nonviolent direct action camp) has been arrested for criminal trespass and jailed. His name is Cody Hall. The fact that Amy Goodman gets a warrant for trespassing while filming dog attacks and the dog handlers get no warrant for anything -- it speaks volumes about the Morton County Sheriff's Office.
posted by hungrytiger at 4:59 PM on September 11, 2016 [8 favorites]

Today's Democracy Now! (at about 9:30; alt link, transcript) says that Hall "has been released from jail after being held for three days without bail or bond".
posted by XMLicious at 8:54 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Today there is more civil disobedience (people locked to equipment), a response from police carrying semiautomatic weapons, and they are reportedly arresting everyone holding a camera. This scrappy little outfit called Unicorn Riot got arrested live while commenting on the fact that all camera holders were getting arrested... Who can best respond to that? Reporters without borders? ACLU? It scares me when they are arresting people with cameras.
posted by hungrytiger at 3:02 PM on September 13, 2016 [7 favorites]

Cody Hall - “In a deliberate show of force, four units surrounded my car. Each car had three to four officers to take me into custody,” he said. “Their intimidation tactics continued when we arrived at the Morton County Jail. Eight officers were waiting for me when the elevator door opened.”
posted by adamvasco at 3:23 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dakota Access Pipeline plan still on despite protests across the US and world. "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."
posted by homunculus at 7:56 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

response from police carrying semiautomatic weapons, and they are reportedly arresting everyone holding a camera.

Called it. Brings to mind the scene from The Stand miniseries when the authorities start moving past the 'nothing to see here, move along' to having no more shits to give as the start focusing on reporters, cameras, and radio broadcasters (hey, it was the 90's!). Scary shit. Stay safe friends and Mvto.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:41 PM on September 13, 2016

Somemore about the problems Unicorn Riot faced with facebook. blocking their livestreaming
Facebook seemed to imply that the issue was with the link itself, and not the page’s content. What this indicates is that Facebook’s wide-net system for making its platform a safer place is both flawed and unreliable.
posted by adamvasco at 4:54 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

@adamvasco yeah I heard that all it takes to kill a public Facebook post/link is for enough people to flag it and then it automatically gets shut down. so in this case enough pro pipeline flaggers means no unicorn riot. more universally, it means if enough people have it out for you they can shut down your Facebook feed. I guess the revolution's gonna have to be on twitter...
posted by hungrytiger at 9:26 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Amy Goodman interviewed on The Tavis Smiley Show tonight (September 20). The video will presumably show up on their site shortly. She quoted someone, I missed who, saying "This isn't 1963 and you aren't George Wallace" about the attack dogs.
posted by XMLicious at 9:28 PM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dave Archambault II in Geneva: Standing Rock Sioux Chairman takes #NODAPL to the United Nations
posted by XMLicious at 11:22 PM on September 20, 2016

Comedy bit from The Daily Show: Hasan Minhaj clowns around with people at the campsite. (probably geo-locked, I couldn't find it on yt.)
Minhaj: So I went there to ask them, why can't they just trust America on this one?

Minhaj: (to protester) Name one time the American people have screwed over the indigenous people of this country. Name one time.

Protestor 1: One time? Well, maybe when they colonized us.

Minhaj: Okay. Name one other time. Just, put that one off the table.

Protestor 2: There's a laundry list. In 1851, we entered into a contract with the federal government. Before the ink even dried, they broke that treaty.

Minhaj: That was 1851. Name, name one other time.

Protestor 1: Trail of Tears.

Minhaj: Okay, well, just... uh...

(more protesters pile on more and more examples)
posted by XMLicious at 1:41 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

President Obama to Host Last Tribal Nations Conference with Leaders Pushing for “Meaningful” Tribal Consultation (Native News Online, Sept. 26, 2016)
When President Barack Obama reaches the podium at his final White House Tribal Nations Conference Monday afternoon, tribal leaders who acknowledge the Obama administration has brought positive change to Indian Country will be actively listening to hear what the president has to say about tribal consultation.

The president is expected to address leaders from 567 federally recognized tribes in Indian Country on Monday afternoon at 3:40 p.m.-EDT.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced its slate for meetings to discuss government-to-government tribal consultations. Given American Indian tribes are sovereign nations, the government-to-government is makes sense and is completely justified.

“Tribal Leaders from across Indian Country have come together in an unprecedented show of support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in the fight to protect their water and cultural places,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby, “So many of our tribal nations have dealt with the same type of issues protecting our natural and cultural resources.”

Tribal leaders will be anxious to hear what the president has to say when he delivers his last speech to them on Monday.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 AM on September 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

A related story about Tribal resistance to coal development in Alaska:
Why are energy billionaires spending millions to develop coal in a pristine Alaskan wilderness?
posted by suelac at 10:00 AM on September 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

21 people arrested. Police escalation.
posted by adamvasco at 12:11 AM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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