Dakota Access pipeline work restarts amid tribe’s legal challenge: ‘It’s not over’ – Sam Levin in Cannon Ball, North Dakota – Thursday 9 February 2017 13.41 EST


Pipeline at heart of protests and legal action could be transporting oil within three months – but Standing Rock activists say they will stay put

Dakota Access pipeline workers have begun the final phase of drilling across the Missouri river despite massive international protests and a legal challenge from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The restarting of the drilling operation, which a pipeline spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday morning, began soon after the US government gave the oil corporation the green light to proceed on Wednesday. The controversial pipeline could be transporting crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois within three months.

At the Standing Rock camps in Cannon Ball – where activists have been stationed since last spring to fight the project – indigenous and environmental organizers vowed to stay put and continue opposing the pipeline.

“We’re adamant about standing up against the pipeline regardless of the push to get us out,” said Irina Lukban, a 22-year-old activist. Late Wednesday night, she and other demonstrators, who call themselves water protectors, gathered around a table of maps at Sacred Stone, the first camp set up in opposition to the pipeline, and discussed strategy.

“We have to unify in the face of this adversity,” said Lukban, who is from California and is a member of an indigenous tribe in the Philippines.

The construction is a devastating blow to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose fight against the $3.7bn pipeline became a flashpoint across the globe for indigenous rights and climate change activism.

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Dakota Access pipeline moves to final stage in army corps approval process – Sam Levin and Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco Tuesday 31 January 2017 21.58 EST


The acting secretary of the army has directed the army corps of engineers to grant the easement necessary to finish the billion-dollar project

 North Dakota government spokesperson says the easement ‘isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it’. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters


North Dakota government spokesperson says the easement ‘isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it’. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

North Dakota government spokesperson says the easement ‘isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it’. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

The Dakota Access pipeline is in the final process of getting approvals to complete construction across the Missouri river, according to North Dakota senator John Hoeven.

The acting secretary of the army has directed the army corps of engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to finish the pipeline, Don Canton, spokesman for Hoeven, told the Associated Press. The easement “isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it” within days, he added.

A spokesman for the US army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jan Hasselman, lawyer representing the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, cautioned in an email that the battle wasn’t over. “People are jumping the gun, no easement has been issued,” he said, adding that he had confirmed that with the justice department.

But Hasselman added: “I’d say it’s a near certainty that they go ahead. It will be illegal of them to do so, of course, so [we] will have to litigate that.”

The Standing Rock tribe, supported by indigenous activists and environmental groups across the globe, has long argued that the $3.8bn project threatens sacred lands and the regional water supply.

In his first week in office, Trump issued an executive order demanding the revival of the Dakota Access pipeline and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, both of which Barack Obama had halted. The tribe vowed to fight the order, which it said is illegal and not backed by proper consultation with Standing Rock.

Trump signs order reviving controversial pipeline projects

Though many activists left Standing Rock after the Obama administration denied the company’s permits in December, some have remained camped out by the construction site through the harsh North Dakota winter.

Obama’s decision directed the government to conduct a full environmental review of the project, known as an environmental impact statement (EIS), which is a process that the tribe has long demanded.

In a statement released Tuesday night, the tribe said it would “vigorously pursue legal action to ensure the environmental impact statement order issued late last year is followed so the pipeline process is legal, fair and accurate”

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Standing Rock Sioux tribe says POTUS is breaking law with Dakota Access order – Oliver Milman Thursday 26 January 2017 13.32 EST


 A man walks through the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota Tuesday. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters


A man walks through the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota Tuesday. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has called POTUS’s decision to push forward the controversial Dakota Access pipeline “utterly alarming”, and warned the president that rushing through the project would break federal law.

On Tuesday, POTUS signed an executive order instructing the army corps of engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the Dakota Access project, an 1,100-mile pipeline that would take oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois.

The army corps of engineers is undertaking an environmental impact statement over concerns that the pipeline could contaminate the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water at Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The pipeline would cross the Missouri river, the tribe’s main source of drinking water, and pass close to the tribal reservation.

POTUS’ order asks the army to consider “whether to withdraw” the environmental review, despite the fact it is already under way, with a public comment period that closes on 20 February.

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Protests escalate over Louisiana pipeline by company behind Dakota Access – Michael Patrick Welch Sunday 15 January 2017 07.00 EST


‘A lot of times we don’t get this opportunity to speak up. [These oil companies] want to just roll over us.’ Photograph: Alaina Dunn

‘A lot of times we don’t get this opportunity to speak up. [These oil companies] want to just roll over us.’ Photograph: Alaina Dunn

Scott Eustis did not stop smiling for hours. The coastal wetland specialist with the Gulf Restoration Network was attending a public hearing in Baton Rouge. Its subject was a pipeline extension that would run directly through the Atchafalaya Basin, the world’s largest natural swamp. Eustis was surprised to be joined by more than 400 others.

“This is like 50 times the amount of people we have at most of these meetings,” said Eustis, adding that the proposed pipeline was “the biggest and baddest I’ve seen in my career”.

The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), had seemed to turn its attention to Louisiana just one day after Native American protesters thwarted the company’s Dakota Access project last month.

A spokeswoman for ETP, Vicki Granado, said the Bayou Bridge pipeline extension was announced in June 2015. If approved, the project will run though 11 parishes and cross around 600 acres of wetlands and 700 bodies of water, including wells that reportedly provide drinking water for some 300,000 families.

At the public hearing in Baton Rouge on Thursday, the first speaker, Cory Farber, project manager of the Bayou Bridge pipeline, said it was expected to create 2,500 temporary jobs. When Farber then said the project would produce 12 permanent jobs, the crowd laughed heartily.

“Those who have airboat companies and equipment companies that specialize in putting in equipment, they’re not opposed to pipelines because of the short-term jobs,” said Jody Meche, president of the state Crawfish Producers’ Association, one of dozens who spoke at the hearing.

wq“But once that pipe is in there, the jobs are gone.”

Other attendees applauded in favor of the pipeline, and former US senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a supporter, was in attendance. But Native Americans also dotted the crowd, many of them fresh from Standing Rock.

“The Native Americans in North Dakota get a lot of credit for showing people their power,” Eustis said.

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Standing Rock activists are looking to hit the Dakota Access pipeline’s finances to cement their win Jan 2016


standing rock dakota access pipeline protesters

Activists march in protest with veterans outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016.Reuters/Stephen Yang

Indigenous activists are focusing on the Dakota Access pipeline’s finances before Donald Trump takes office in an effort to further strain the oil corporation and cause continuing delays that they hope could be disastrous for the project.

After the Obama administration denied the company a key permit to finish construction, Native American activists warned that the win was only temporary and that Trump, an investor in the pipeline corporation, would seek to quickly advance the project next year.

Some indigenous advocates and environmental groups have focused their efforts to hurt the pipeline company’s profits on an approaching 1 January deadline that the operator, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), cited in court records.

The firm wrote in a filing this year that the pipeline “committed to complete, test and have DAPL in service” by the start of 2017. And if the company did not meet its contract deadline, then its shippi`ng partners had a “right to terminate their commitments”.

In asking a judge to speedily green-light the $3.8bn project, vice-president Joey Mahmoud claimed that the loss of shippers could “effectively result in project cancellation”, leading advocates and analysts to declare that a missed January deadline could be financially disastrous for ETP and a huge feat for Standing Rock.

But in emails to the Guardian, DAPL spokeswoman Vicki Granado claimed that January was just an “initial target” and not a “contractual date”, which is “much later”, though she refused to say when.

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Activists Say Dakota Access Pipeline Could Be Put on Hold for 30 Days – WES ENZINNA NOV. 4, 2016 6:30 PM


“It’s the first glimmer of hope, of good news, that we’ve had out here for weeks—months.”

Yesterday, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II and other tribal authorities met with the US Army Corps of Engineers at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Building in Fort Yates, North Dakota. According to activists and others in attendance, Colonel John W. Henderson, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers in North Dakota, agreed that the Corps will ask Energy Transfer Partners to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for at least 30 days.

Dakota Access pipeline representatives have said they have between two and five days of work left before the pipeline reaches the Missouri River. Anti-pipeline protesters and “water protectors” say that laying the crude oil pipeline just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation will threaten its water supply. The pipeline is nearly 90 percent completed.

The company has not yet received an easement permit to dig under the river. According to Kandi Mossett, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, and others at yesterday’s meeting, Henderson said he would wait at least 30 days until granting such an easement. If the Corps’ Washington, DC, office grants the easement, Henderson reportedly said he would not sign it for 30 days.

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Dakota Access: Obama suggests ‘ways to reroute pipeline’ being investigated – Sam Levin Wednesday 2 November 2016 00.40 EDT


theguardian.com

 Burnt-out vehicles at a law enforcement barricade on the Dakota Access pipeline construction route. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters

Burnt-out vehicles at a law enforcement barricade on the Dakota Access pipeline construction route. Photograph: STRINGER/Reuters

Barack Obama has suggested the Dakota Access pipeline could be rerouted around sacred Native American lands in comments that are the president’s first on the controversial oil project since police arrested hundreds of indigenous protesters during violent clashes.

After months of pleas from activists in North Dakota to stop construction of a pipeline that the Standing Rock tribe says could contaminate its water supply and threaten its cultural heritage, Obama said in an interview released on Tuesday night that the government was “going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans”.

Asked about the high-profile demonstrations against the $3.8bn pipeline, Obama told news website NowThis: “We’re monitoring this closely and I think as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans, and I think that right now the army corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.”

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