Standing Rock: A Hollow Victory
It appears that the Standing Rock Victory is a hollow one, as you’ve likely heard by now. The DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) project is planning to move forward, take the penalty of a civic fine, and plow through earth that compromises the water supplies that feed the Lakota. They know that the brutal North Dakota winter will take its toll on the protestors standing the ground, facing off the paid mercenaries and militarized police.
Tribal Elders, meanwhile, are telling the weakened, children and older tribal members to go home, not to risk their health. Others are willing to stand until the land is left unmolested, no matter what the cost. Among those who have remained is Danny Sheehan, who is has been there to protect the legal rights of the tribal people.
The facts are that Donald Trump received $100,000 from the chief executive of the Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the developers of the pipeline. He held/holds investment in the company as well. This means he is very likely to simply overturn Obama’s denial of the easement that prevents ETP from continuing construction on the protested land. ETP has already sunk $3-billion into the pipeline and is losing $83-million a month with stalled construction. The project is 90% complete meaning EFT is very unhappy with this decision and very motivated to see that they win in the end. This denial of access to the land by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers requires a new Environmental Impact Report, which will take months. Do the math – they could be another several hundred million dollars in the red even if they won.
The truth is that the entire deal is a salvage job. The rush to finish the pipeline is purely financial and has nothing to do with an imperative need to move domestic oil across the land. According to court documents, oil drillers have the right to void their contracts with ETP if the pipeline is not finished by January 1st. That is only 20 days away. These contracts were signed when the oil industry was thriving in 2014. The price of oil steeply reduced since those days and ETP is trying to salvage the cushy contract.
The larger picture is even clearer – It’s time for all people to stand up for what is right. Our days of complacency are over. As the Theo group told me a few days ago, these times DEMAND that we ACT in accordance with our beliefs. Toward that end, Danny Sheehan suggests we could be of help by signing petitions and making donations to LakotaLaw.org. The people on the line are cold and in need of blankets, food, tents and more. For those who are strong and healthy, taking a shift on the ground might be appealing in the season of gifting. This is a golden opportunity to begin swelling up en masse. WE hold the power in the end, but not if we don’t use it.