'They're Trying to Poison Our Future,' Resistance Heats Up to Stop 'Black Snake' From Slithering Through Midwest
Native tribes, landowners, environmental activists trying to stop pipeline that rivals Keystone XL in length
Resistance against a new Bakken crude pipeline stepped up this week with the arrest of 12 people on Thursday near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
"They're trying to lay a pipe across our water. They're trying to poison our future," said one of the people taking part in the action.
YouTube user UrbanNativeEra posted this video of the event:
The dozen people arrested—who were among roughly 200 protesters—face charges of disorderly conduct or criminal trespass, the Associated Press reports.
The fossil fuel infrastructure project in question is the roughly 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which is slated to transport up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude from the Bakken fields in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.
The "mega-pipeline" (it's nearly the same length as the Keystone XL), as Mother Jones writes Friday, recently received all the regulatory permission it needs to be constructed. Its approval may have been helped by parent company Energy Transfer Partners' strategy of having the pipeline route avoid federal lands—a lesson learned from TransCanada's denied pipeline.
As EcoWatch writes, the Dakota Access
would cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation that stands in North and South Dakota. The Missouri River, one of the largest water resources in the U.S., provides drinking water for millions of people.
The people of Standing Rock, often called Sioux, warn that a potential oil spill into the river would threaten the water, land, and health of their reservation.
The problem with the Bakken pipeline, according to the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, is straightforward: "Pipelines leak."
As such, it's been met with ongoing resistance. Thursday was the "second day of confrontation with private security and local law enforcement," Sarah Aziza writes at Waging Nonviolence, and as AP reported earlier this week, "at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, American Indians have for months been staging a nonviolent protest at a 'spirit camp.'" Native tribes also "have launched a campaign, called Rezpect our Water, against the pipeline. They've even set out on a 500-mile relay run in protest of the project," as ThinkProgress reported.
Environmental activists and other landowners have also joined efforts to stop the pipeline, and helping raise the profile of the fight are a number of actors, such as Leonardo DiCaprio taking to Twitter. Divergent series actor Shailene Woodley, meanwhile, took part in Thursday's action directly.
"I'll be here until we win, a week or a year. I'm out here because I believe clean water is a right for everyone," she said, according to the Bismarck Tribune. "I'm here because I'm a human being and I want to have children some day, so it's also my responsibility to make sure that all babies, all children have water," Woodley added.
"The end is when they (the pipeline) pack up and leave. I stand in solidarity with these people," she said.
Another protester taking party in the action said he was there to stand against "the black snake [...] for all the winged, for all the four-legged, the two-legged, the water, and the land. I am here. I am Lakota." He said the pipeline must be stopped "so our future generations can live on."
Twitter users continue to capture the resistance with the hashtags #DakotaAccessPipeline, #RezpectOurWater and #NoDAPL: