Red Fawn Fallis Sentenced to 57 months in Federal prison

Red Fawn Fallis

Red Fawn Fallis has been sentenced for her role in a shooting incident during the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

According to media reports, Fallis, 39, was sentenced Wednesday to four years and nine months in federal prison.

Fallis, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, was accused of firing a handgun three times while resisting arrest on Oct. 27, 2016. No one was hurt.

She pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to civil disorder and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon. Prosecutors agreed to drop another weapons charge.

Prosecutors were recommending seven years in prison, though U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland could have gone as high as 15 years.

Fallis did not get credit for time served in a halfway house after she was arrested in January for violating her pretrial release agreement. Judge Hovland says he is recommending placement in Phoenix or Tucson, Ariz.

Fallis is also sentenced to three years of supervised probation after her release; including special conditions of drug and alcohol treatment and treatment for mental health issues.

The sentence can be appealed within 14 days of the judgement being signed.

Fallis’s arrest was one of 761 that authorities made during the height of the Dakota Access pipeline protests near Standing Rock, North Dakota in 2016 and 2017.

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North Dakota’s Bill for Policing Pipeline Protest now at $39 Million

(Photo by Angus Mordant/Groundtruth)

North Dakota’s bill for policing protests of the Dakota Access pipeline continues to rise.

The North Dakota Emergency Commission is set to borrow an additional $5 million Monday to cover law enforcement costs. That will bring the total line of credit from the state-owned bank of North Dakota to $39 million.

State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says 11 states provided law enforcement help to North Dakota, and some bills are only now arriving.

The $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners began moving oil from North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois in June, after months of protests.

The Emergency Commission also is set to approve a $10 million federal grant to help pay state law enforcement bills related to the protests.

The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Judge Asks Army Corps to Revisit Environmental Analysis of Dakota Access Pipeline

Protesters march along the pipeline route during a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in St. Anthony, N.D., on Monday. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

  • Staff | Reuters – Wed Jun 14, 2017

A federal judge on Wednesday said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not fully weigh the impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline and ordered it to reconsider sections of its environmental analysis.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington said that while the Army Corps substantially complied with the National Environmental Policy Act, it did not adequately consider the impacts of a possible oil spill on the fishing and hunting rights of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The tribe had sued the Army Corps over its approval of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

“To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court,” the judge said in a court order.

Operations of Energy Transfer Partners LP’s pipeline have not been suspended but will be considered later, the order said.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

[SOURCE]

N.D. Oil and Gas Division Questioned About Deleting Potentially Valuable Emails

BISMARCK, N.D. – An attorney for landowners in the Bakken found potentially valuable information in deleted folders at the state’s energy regulation agency.

Now he’s speaking out. ​

Derrick Braaten filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division to see how many emails they delete.

In a two-week period in early May last year, nearly 39,000 emails were in delete folders.

About 7,000 emails went through a three-step process of being deleted forever or purged.

Still, state officials say they did nothing wrong.

While spills are an unfortunate side-effect of oil development, some say oil companies aren’t doing their part to avoid as much damage as possible.

“They’re abusing the land. They’re abusing the right to be on that land and the ultimate person that’s going to pay for it is the landowner,” said Former Rep. Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall.

Representative Onstad’s email concerning a well pad’s construction was among those deleted. However, the Oil and Gas Division maintained the inspector’s notes on that site in the department’s records.

“Be it our internal servers, our well files, our case files, so it’s going to be retained in the agency. So, just because the email’s gone, doesn’t mean the information is gone,” said Alison Ritter, Oil and Gas Division.

Ritter says information is stored in a variety of places on the division’s servers.

“It is the most difficult agency in the state to work with on getting records and it’s a continual problem,” said Derrick Braaten, landowner’s attorney.

Braaten filed the open records request and found landowner complaints, dumpsite pictures and emails with industry leaders marked for deletion. He feared documents that could be valuable for his clients were ending up in the trash.

“It’s difficult to even frame a request for information to get that because in my opinion they make it intentionally difficult to get at those records,” said Braaten.

“We’re an open book. If you want to know something, or if you have a question or you want to request something, absolutely ask me and we’ll provide it to you,” said Ritter.

Braaten says the department should have more information readily available. He says the department should also be more forthcoming on where records can be found in the system.

KFYR-TV looked into several of the deleted emails, to see what records remained in the department, including one with pictures sent in that were deleted.

Ritter says the illegal dump site in the pictures wasn’t under Oil and Gas’s jurisdiction, so there are no inspector notes and agency didn’t keep the submitted pictures.

The inspector did, however, keep these pictures he took when he inspected the site.

[SOURCE]

How to Fight A Pipeline: Dakota Access Battle offers Blueprint for Protest

The tactics used in North Dakota — resistance camps, prominent use of social media, online fundraising — are now being used against several projects.

Staff – Red Power Media | April 08, 2017

Prolonged protests in North Dakota have failed to stop the flow of oil through the Dakota Access pipeline, at least for now, but they have provided inspiration and a blueprint for protests against pipelines in other states.

The months of demonstrations that sought to halt the four-state pipeline have largely died off with the February clearing of the main protest camp and the completion of the pipeline, which will soon be moving oil from North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois.

Four Sioux tribes are still suing to try to halt the project, which they say threatens their water supply, cultural sites and religious rights. But they’ve faced a string of setbacks in court since U.S. President Donald Trump moved into the White House.

Despite the setbacks, Dakota Access protest organizers don’t view their efforts as wasted. They say the protests helped raise awareness nationwide about their broader push for cleaner energy and greater respect for the rights of indigenous people.

“The opportunity to build awareness started at Standing Rock and it’s spreading out to other areas of the United States,” said Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has led the legal push to shut down the pipeline project.

As protesters left the area in southern North Dakota where the Dakota Access pipeline crosses under a Missouri River reservoir that serves as the tribes’ water supply, organizers called on them to take the fight to other parts of the country where pipelines are in the works.

The tactics used in North Dakota — resistance camps, prominent use of social media, online fundraising — are now being used against several projects. They include the Sabal Trail pipeline that will move natural gas from Alabama to Florida; the Trans-Pecos natural gas pipeline in Texas; the Diamond pipeline that will carry oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee; and the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline that will move natural gas from Pennsylvania to Virginia.

They’re also being used against projects that are still in the planning stages, including the proposed Pilgrim oil pipeline in New York and New Jersey and the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana.

Dakota Access opponents have also vowed to fight against the resurgent Keystone XL pipeline, which would move crude oil from Canada to Nebraska and on to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

“A big part of our message was not just to nationalize the fight against Dakota Access, but to highlight regional issues that people are facing,” said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “To use our momentum.”

The influence of the Dakota Access protest is evident in various forms. For example, some who protested in North Dakota have gone to Texas and Florida to help with those demonstrations, according to Goldtooth. The Red Warrior Society, a pipeline protest group that advocated aggressive tactics in North Dakota, is promoting resistance in other states via social media.

There are nearly a dozen accounts on the GoFundMe crowdfunding site seeking money to battle the Sabal Trail and Trans-Pecos pipelines. The Society of Native Nations, which is fighting the Trans-Pecos, used the protest camp model from North Dakota to set up a camp in Texas, according to Executive Director Frankie Orona.

“I really believe this momentum is going to stay alive,” said Orona. “Standing Rock was the focal point, was the root of this movement. If we learned anything from Standing Rock, it’s the power of unity. It wasn’t one (tribal) nation — it was more than 400.”

Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of Dakota Access opponents congregated at the main protest camp for half a year, often clashing with police to draw attention to their cause. More than 750 people were arrested between early August and late February, when the camp was closed in advance of spring flooding season.

The prolonged protest garnered widespread and consistent attention on social media, and it has filtered down, to some degree, to the pipeline protests elsewhere. That has elevated activists’ concerns from local demonstrations to a national stage, according to Brian Hosmer, an associate professor of Western American history at the University of Tulsa.

“Social media makes it more difficult to shut off the camera,” he said. “In some way, they’re their own reporters and they don’t need the networks to report it. Social media connects the tribe; it now connects all of these separate groups.”

For now, the energy industry and its allies say they’re unconcerned.

The Dakota Access movement wrote the new playbook for pipeline opponents, but it might be less effective under Trump, said Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, a group of agriculture, business and labour entities that long spoke in favour of the pipeline. Trump approved its completion shortly after taking office and he has taken other steps favourable to the fossil fuel industry while rolling back Obama-era environmental protections.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who has advised Trump on energy issues, said pipeline developers have learned to prepare for resistance, and he thinks the anti-pipeline movement will fade if protesters fail to achieve their goals and get discouraged.

Juliana Schwartz, senior campaigner for Change.org, which helps people and groups advance causes, disagrees, saying the environmental protest movement appears to be strong. A “people against pipelines” page on the group’s website recently listed 16 petitions related to energy projects — mostly pipelines — in more than half a dozen states, with nearly 725,000 supporters.

“The broader movement to stop resource extraction has taken inspiration from (Dakota Access),” Schwartz said. “I think we can expect to see this trend continue as more and more communities feel that their safety and health is under threat due to the president’s support of the fossil fuel industry over marginalized communities.”

Article written by Blake Nicholson, published in the Associated Press, on April 2, 2017

Contributing to this story were Associated Press writers Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Oklahoma; David Warren in Dallas; Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota; and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City.

[SOURCE]

Federal Judge Won’t Stop Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

A building burns after being set alight by protesters preparing to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux had argued that construction under Lake Oahe violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water

The Associated Press | March 7, 2017

A federal judge declined Tuesday to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, clearing the way for oil to flow as soon as next week.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux had asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois.

The tribes argued that construction under the lake violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water, and they wanted the work suspended until the claim could be resolved.

When they filed the lawsuit last summer, the tribes argued that the pipeline threatens Native American cultural sites and their water supply. Their religion argument was new, however, and disputed by both the Corps and the company.

Boasberg in his ruling Tuesday said the tribes didn’t raise the religion argument in a timely fashion.

“Only once Dakota Access had built up to the water’s edge and the Corps had granted the easement (for drilling) to proceed did Cheyenne River inform defendants that the pipeline was the realization of a long-held prophecy about a Black Snake and that the mere presence of oil in the pipeline under the lakebed would interfere with tribe’s members’ ability to engage in important religious practices,” the judge said.

Boasberg said he is likely to allow the tribes to continue making the religion argument, though he doesn’t think it’s likely to succeed.

“Although the tribe’s members may feel unable to use the water from Lake Oahe in their religious ceremonies once the pipeline is operational, there is no specific ban on their religious exercise,” he said.

In February, Boasberg declined the tribes’ request to order an immediate halt to the pipeline construction, ruling that as long as oil wasn’t flowing through the pipeline, there was no imminent harm to the tribes.

Tribal attorney Nicole Ducheneaux countered in court documents that the mere existence of an oil pipeline under the reservoir the tribes consider to be “sacred waters” violated their right to practice their religion.

The court battle isn’t over, as no final decision has been made on the merits of the tribes’ overall claims. Both tribes also have asked Boasberg to overturn the federal permission for the Lake Oahe crossing and to bar the Corps from granting permission in the future. The judge won’t rule until at least April.

The pipeline saga has endured for months. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of pipeline opponents who sided with tribal opposition to the pipeline camped on federal land near the drill site for months, often clashing with police. There have been about 750 arrests in the region since August. Authorities last month closed the camp in advance of spring flooding season and set up roadblocks to prevent protesters from returning.

Work under Lake Oahe had been held up in the courts until President Donald Trump last month instructed the Corps to advance construction. The Army is involved because its engineering branch manages the river and its system of hydroelectric dams, which is owned by the federal government.

ETP began drilling under the lake Feb. 8. Company attorney William Scherman said in court documents that the pipeline could be moving oil as early as next week.

[SOURCE]

Dakota Access Pipeline Could Start Flowing Oil Within Weeks

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

  • Oil could be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline in less than two weeks, according to court documents filed by developer Energy Transfer Partners.

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 24, 2017

The Texas-based company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says oil could be flowing in less than two weeks.

The Washington Times reportsAttorneys for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said in a court-ordered status report Thursday that the final 1,100-foot section is nearly finished, which would enable the 1,172-mile, four-state pipeline to begin operations months ahead of previous estimates.

“Dakota Access reports that the pilot hole is complete,” said the report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. “The company is currently reaming the hole — i.e., making it larger in order to accept the pipe. As of now, Dakota Access estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017 and April 1, 2017.”

According to The Associated Press, the work under the Missouri River reservoir is the last stretch of the pipeline that will move oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. ETP got permission for the lake work last month from the pro-energy Trump administration, though Native American tribes continue fighting the project in court.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes say the pipeline threatens their drinking water, cultural sites and ability to practice their religion, which depends on pure water.

The tribes have also asked for “meaningful pre-decisional government-to-government consultation.”

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff’s Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

Protesters cleared from camp blocking last section of pipeline

Yesterday, dozens of people were arrested as police in full riot gear cleared the Oceti Sakowin camp where opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year.

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About 220 officers and 18 National Guardsmen methodically searched protester tents and other temporary homes for remaining holdouts.

Authorities said they arrested 46 people, including a group of military veterans who had to be carried out and a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering.

The arrests occurred a day after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to clear the camp by a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline.

Shortly before the Wednesday deadline about 150 people left the camp blocking the last section of pipeline.

Police have made more than 700 arrests since protests began.

Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Holdouts Arrested

ap-standing-rock

Law enforcement vehicles arrive at the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Feb. 23, 2017. (James MacPherson / AP)

Red Power Media | Feb 23, 2017

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP)– Police in full riot gear began arresting Dakota Access pipeline opponents who remained in a protest camp in North Dakota on Thursday in defiance of orders to leave.

Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday, when authorities closed the camp on Army Corps of Engineers land in advance of spring flooding, but some refused to go.

Eighteen National Guardsmen and dozens of law officers entered the camp from two directions shortly before midday Thursday, along with several law enforcement and military vehicles. A helicopter and airplane flew overhead.

Officers checked structures and began arresting people, putting them in vans to take to jail. The number of arrests wasn’t immediately known.

U.S. National Guard and police sweep the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on Feb. 23, 2017. (source: livestream.com / Unicorn Riot)

U.S. National Guard and police sweep the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on Feb. 23, 2017. (source: livestream.com / Unicorn Riot)

The operation began shortly after authorities said Corps officials had met with camp leaders. They didn’t divulge the outcome of those talks.

The camp — known as Oceti Sakowin — near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation has since August been the main site for demonstrators trying to thwart construction of the final section of the $3.8 billion pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux, whose reservation is downstream, say Dakota Access threatens their drinking water and cultural sites. Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes that.

When complete, the pipeline will carry oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

Police also had a SWAT vehicle on hand Thursday in case of what Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson described as a worst-case “SWAT scenario” — an armed person barricading themselves in a structure in the camp.

American Indian elders have told police there are people willing to resort to drastic measures to stay in the camp, Iverson said. Similar sentiments have been expressed by protesters on social media, Iverson said.

“We’re doing everything we can to avoid that kind of a situation,” he said. “We don’t want it to reach a flash point, but at some point, enough is enough.”

At its peak, the camp was home to thousands of protesters. Gov. Doug Burgum estimated Wednesday night that as many as 50 people remained in the camp. Police early Thursday said an additional 15 crossed a frozen river and entered the camp on foot.

Before authorities moved in, Burgum had said those remaining at the camp still had a chance to leave without facing charges. The state sent a bus to the site at midday to transport anyone to Bismarck, where officials were doling out basic necessities, along with hotel and bus vouchers.

Corps Col. John Henderson has said the taxpayer-funded cleanup of the site could take about a month and cost as much as $1.2 million. The Corps had warned that the protesters need to leave the site before the spring melt floods the land and spreads debris from the camp downriver.

A fire set by protesters burns in the background as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune)

A fire set by protesters burns in the background as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune)

Early Wednesday, protesters burned some wooden structures on site in what they described as a leaving ceremony. Authorities said about 20 fires were set and a 7-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were taken to hospitals to be treated for burns.

Shortly before the 2 p.m. deadline to leave, about 150 people marched out of the soggy camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway, carrying an American flag hung upside-down.

The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Revealed: FBI Terrorism Taskforce Investigating Standing Rock Activists

A permit has been granted for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

A permit has been granted for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

FBI representatives have contacted several ‘water protectors’, raising alarm that an indigenous-led movement is being construed as domestic terrorism

The Guardian | Feb 10, 2017

The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists.

The Guardian has established that multiple officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock “water protector” movement in North Dakota.

The purpose of the officers’ inquiries into Standing Rock, and scope of the task force’s work, remains unknown. Agency officials declined to comment. But the fact that the officers have even tried to communicate with activists is alarming to free-speech experts who argue that anti-terrorism agents have no business scrutinizing protesters.

“The idea that the government would attempt to construe this indigenous-led non-violent movement into some kind of domestic terrorism investigation is unfathomable to me,” said Lauren Regan, a civil rights attorney who has provided legal support to demonstrators who were contacted by representatives of the FBI. “It’s outrageous, it’s unwarranted … and it’s unconstitutional.”

Regan, who has regularly visited Standing Rock and is the executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Oregon, said she learned of three cases in which officers with the taskforce, known as the JTTF, tried to talk to activists in person. She described the encounters as attempted “knocks and talks”, meaning law enforcement showed up at people’s doors without a subpoena or warrant and tried to get them to voluntarily cooperate with an interview.

The three individuals, who include a Native American and a non-indigenous activist, asserted their fifth amendment rights and did not respond to the officers, according to Regan, who declined to identify them to protect their privacy and out of fear of retribution.

 Construction equipment near the Dakota Access pipeline. Workers have begun drilling after the army corps granted the permit necessary. Photograph: Josh Morgan/Reuters

Construction equipment near the Dakota Access pipeline. Workers have begun drilling after the army corps granted the permit necessary. Photograph: Josh Morgan/Reuters

Two of them were contacted in North Dakota and a third at their home outside the state, according to Regan. She said all three contacts were made in recent weeks after Trump’s inauguration.

Trump, a former investor in Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based firm behind the pipeline, took executive action in his first week in office to expedite the project. On Wednesday, workers began drilling to complete the pipeline across the Missouri river.

The JTTF revelation comes at a time when there have been increasing concerns at Standing Rock about law enforcement surveillance, police violence and the targeted arrests and prosecutions of activists.

Since the summer, law enforcement officials have made roughly 700 arrests, in some cases leading to serious felony charges and possibly lengthy state prison sentences. Following recent indictments, at least six activists are now facing charges in federal court. Rumors about JTTF have caused further stress among the activists.

Regan said she was able to confirm the identity of one of the JTTF officers, Andrew Creed, who attempted to contact an activist. Reached by phone, he declined to comment to the Guardian, saying, “I can’t talk to you” before hanging up.

An FBI spokesman, Jeffrey Van Nest, also declined to answer any questions, saying: “We’re not in a position to provide a comment as to the existence of an investigation.”

In November, a JTTF officer also showed up to the hospital room of Sophia Wilansky, a 21-year-old who was seriously injured during a standoff with law enforcement at Standing Rock, according to her father, Wayne Wilansky. The FBI took her clothes and still have not returned them, he said in an interview this week.

Wayne said he suspected that the FBI brought a terrorism agent given that local police had alleged that activists set off an explosion that caused his daughter’s injuries. Witnesses have said they believe she was hit by a police concussion grenade.

The timing of the FBI hospital visit in Minneapolis was upsetting, he added. “It was especially disturbing, because Sophia’s blood pressure was going up. She was about to be wheeled into surgery.”

Activists at Standing Rock have faced blizzard conditions at the camp during the winter months. Photograph: Michael Nigro/Pacific/Barcroft

Activists at Standing Rock have faced blizzard conditions at the camp during the winter months. Photograph: Michael Nigro/Pacific/Barcroft

Police have repeatedly painted the anti-pipeline movement as dangerous, which is why JTTF may be involved, Regan said.

“From the very beginning, local law enforcement has attempted to justify its militarized presence … by making false allegations that somehow these water protectors were violent.”

The attorney said it also seemed likely that JTTF may have contacted other water protectors and said she worried they may not have realized their best option is to remain silent and contact a lawyer.

This is not the first time the JTTF has been tied to an investigation of civil rights protesters. Records from Minnesota suggested that the taskforce monitored a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

For indigenous leaders who have vowed to continue fighting the pipeline on the ground, the FBI investigations and ongoing federal prosecutions have become increasingly worrisome. It’s particularly troubling to some given the US government’s history of aggressively targeting Native American protesters and turning them into political prisoners.

“This is history repeating itself,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who founded the first camp opposing the pipeline. “I keep on thinking, how we did come to this point? … When did Americans lose their rights? When did America stop following the law?”

Brandy-Lee Maxie, a 34-year-old Nakota tribe member from Canada, said it’s difficult not to worry about possible prosecution. But the cause, she said, is too important to give up: “I’m staying here. Whatever happens to those who stay happens. We’ve just gotta keep praying.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/10/standing-rock-fbi-investigation-dakota-access

U.S. Army Corps To Grant Final Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline: Court Filing

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

A North Dakota National Guard vehicle idles on the outskirts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Reuters | Feb 7, 2017 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final easement needed to finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a court filing Tuesday.

The line had been delayed for several months after protests from Native American tribes and climate activists. The $3.8 billion line, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N), needed a final permit to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is part of the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is adjacent to the line’s route, has said it will fight the decision. The Army Corps had previously stated that it would undertake further environmental review of the project. The tribe was not immediately available for comment.

The 1,170-mile (1,885 km) line will bring crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region to Patoka, Illinois, and from there connect to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located.

The tribe had fought the line for months, fearing contamination of their drinking water and damage to sacred sites on their land. This one-mile stretch under the river was the last uncompleted section of the line; the pipeline is expected to be operational late in the second quarter.

“The discord we have seen regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline doesn’t serve the tribe, the company, the Corps or any of the other stakeholders involved. Now, we all need to work together to ensure people and communities rebuild trust and peacefully resolve their differences,” said John Hoeven, Republican senator from North Dakota, in a statement.

Numerous activists who have been protesting in North Dakota have vowed to stay, although the primary protest camp is located on a flood plain on Army Corps land and is in the process of being cleared.

Their protests, along with those of climate activists, resulted in the Obama administration’s decision to delay a final permit that would allow construction under the Missouri River. It also ordered an environmental assessment, but that will not be conducted following Tuesday’s decision.

A memo dated Tuesday from Douglas Lamont, a senior official with the Army’s Civil Works department, said that he believes there is “no cause for completing any additional environmental analysis,” in part because of previous assessments by the Corps in 2016.

The Army informed the chairs and ranking members of the House Natural Resources and Senate Energy & Natural Resources committees of their intent in a letter on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump, days after being sworn in, issued an executive order directing the U.S. Army Corps to smooth the path to finishing the line. Tuesday’s filing was made in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

Shares of Energy Transfer Partners were down before the news. The stock finished up 20 cents to $39.60 a share.

(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; editing by Diane Craft and Cynthia Osterman)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-dakota-pipeline-idUSKBN15M2DU