By Red Power Media, Staff | Dec 06, 2016
The battle may be over for U.S. veterans supporting the Dakota Access pipeline opposition near Standing Rock, North Dakota, but they say their fight isn’t finished and they have a new destination — Flint, Michigan, where the crisis over the city’s contaminated water is still raging.
A few days after veterans started to arrive at the Oceti Sakowin camp amid frigid cold to support Native Americans protesting against the oil pipeline project, the Army Corps of Engineers denied on Dec. 4, a permit to build the uncompleted stretch of pipeline set to run under Lake Oahe.
- Army Corps Won’t Grant Easement for Final Section of Dakota Access Pipeline to Explore Alternate Routes
- Standing Rock Chairman Asks Protesters to Disband, Trump to Review Pipeline Decision
On Monday, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chairman Dave Archambault II, asked protesters to return home after the federal government ruled against the controversial pipeline, despite the prospect of President-elect Donald Trump reversing the decision after he takes office.
Thousands of environmental activists and supporters joined the Tribe’s fight against the 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access pipeline costing $3.8 billion.
USUncut.com reports, Wes Clark Jr., who organized a force of over 4,000 U.S. military veterans to mobilize for Standing Rock, said he’s planning a similar mobilization to help the people of Flint.
Flint resident Arthur Woodson, who is a veteran and a supporter of the Standing Rock protesters, said the veterans coming to Flint may help revive media attention on the community’s plight of tainted drinking water, and that the renewed public pressure could bring about an effective solution.
“All the media attention that was there brought more attention to Standing Rock. The government had a change of heart,” Woodson told the Journal.
According to Fusion.net, Clark was on hand at Standing Rock this weekend when protesters received news that the Army Corps of Engineers had denied an easement necessary for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline along its current route—effectively, albeit temporarily, halting the project. Joining him there were thousands of vets who had traveled to Standing Rock, including several from Flint, who saw their participation in the NoDAPL protests as part of the larger struggle they have experienced in their hometown over the past year.
In a statement celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also linked the struggles at Standing Rock with those faced by the residents of Flint:
“Water is life; we cannot survive without it. Whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, the potential threat posed to our water by the Red Hill fuel storage facility on Oʻahu, or the many other threats to our water across our nation, we must act now to protect our precious water for current and future generations to come.
In Flint, drinking water was contaminated by lead seeping through pipes in 2014. City officials denied the leakage problem for months, causing a serious problem, NPR reported. High blood lead levels ensued as Flint residents drank the water, which was particularly harmful to children and pregnant women, causing learning disabilities in developing brains.
President Obama declared a state of emergency earlier this year.
Unfortunately, the situation in Flint did not qualify for a major disaster declaration and was deemed a man-made disaster.
It is unclear when, and how, the veterans organized by Clark will make the trip to Flint.