Delegation seeks settlement of Dakota Access protest costs


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s congressional delegation is calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to address the state’s year-old request for $38 million to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong sent a letter Thursday urging Attorney General William Barr and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to settle the state’s claim, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota’s attorney general filed an administrative claim against the Army Corps of Engineers last year, accusing the agency of letting protesters illegally camp on federal land in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017. It also argued the Corps didn’t maintain law and order when thousands gathered to protest the $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

The pipeline was designed to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

The Corps inaction “required North Dakota to provide a sustained, large-scale public safety response to prevent deaths, and protect property and public safety, including that of the protesters,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in the funding request at the time.

The state delegation is now asking Barr and Shanahan to recognize the state’s public safety response during the prolonged and sometimes violent protests.

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle declined to comment on the delegation’s letter. The Defense Department also didn’t immediately provide comment.

The delegates’ request came on the same day that a federal appeals court ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by environmental and Native American groups who sought to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Opponents of the $8 billion pipeline from Canada to the U.S. have threatened similar protests to those against the Dakota Access pipeline.

By Associated Press, June 12, 2019

[SOURCE]

Indigenous leaders warn of protests, halting developments over shale gas exemption

Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Roger Augustine says ‘the blueprint’ for government to consult Indigenous groups is there. (Radio-Canada)

‘It is our job to ensure the protection of lands and waters for our future generations’: Chief Ross Perley

Top Indigenous leaders are warning that the Higgs government has made “a serious mistake” on shale gas that may reignite protests like those seen in the Rexton area in 2013.

They say the province’s duty to consult Indigenous people is clearly defined, and the government should have known how to proceed as it tries to restart the industry in one part of the province.

“It’s not as if this is all new,” said Roger Augustine, the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. “The blueprint is there.”

“There’s a lot of case law,” said Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation. “There are actual court cases. … If he needs clarity, we’ll certainly provide clarity if that’s what he needs.”

‘Reckless voice’

Augustine said the Progressive Conservative government’s decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in the Sussex area risks alarming members of First Nations communities.

“When a reckless voice speaks out, be it the premier or the prime minister, they should realize what could happen, what it causes in communities,” he said. “Once we’ve got outrage out there, and we’ve got roadblocks, we’ve got cars burned.”

He was referring to anti-shale gas protests near Elsipogtog First Nation in 2013 that saw violent confrontations between protestors and police.

Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation says there’s case law that clarifies government’s duty to consult. (Hadeel Ibrahim, CBC)

Ginnish warned that Mi’kmaq chiefs may pursue “whatever remedies might be available to us otherwise, legally” following the snub.

“In a partnership approach, you talk to your partners before you make a decision, not after,” said Ginnish, who co-chairs Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc., made up of the nine Mi’kmaq bands in the province.

“You would think going forward a new government would want to build a good relationship and perhaps learn from the mistakes of the past.”

Higgs given instructions

This week Premier Blaine Higgs revealed that his cabinet had approved an order to end the moratorium in one part of the province. It would allow Corridor Resources to resume fracking its wells near Penobsquis, in the Sussex area.

Higgs said he met with Augustine last week to discuss the issue. Augustine told CBC News on Friday that he’s unhappy that Higgs told reporters, even after their meeting, that the duty to consult is “vague” and “undefined.”

He said he left notes with the premier after the meeting explaining how the duty to consult — laid out in several Supreme Court of Canada decisions on resource development projects — should work.

And he said that begins with Higgs saying publicly in the legislature that he honours and respects Aboriginal and treaty rights as laid out in the 1982 Constitution.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart sounded a conciliatory note at the legislature Friday, acknowledging that “there’s lots of questions today on whether or not we did it wrong.”

Reset?

Stewart has said repeatedly this week that he recognizes Aboriginal treaties and Aboriginal rights, and he committed again Friday to meeting with chiefs and inviting them to lay out how they want consultations to unfold.

Jake Stewart, minister of Aboriginal affairs, appeared conciliatory at the New Brunswick legislature on Friday. (CBC)

“As tricky as that issue it, that’s a good starting point to at least get the consultation process right,” he said. “Maybe this is the reset we need to sit down and say, ‘How can we define this? How would you like this to go?'”

Augustine said it’s not too late for a reset. He said he has offer to assemble Indigenous representatives to talk to provincial officials about the process.

But he wouldn’t say whether communities would ever consent to shale gas development. “That’s down the road,” he said.

The government said there’s a potential investment of $70 million if Corridor can restart its fracking near Penobsquis, but no new development is likely before 2021.

The government says there’s a potential investment of $70 million if Corridor Resources can restart its fracking near Penobsquis. (CBC)

The Opposition Liberals, who brought in the provincial moratorium when they were in power, say the PC government has gone against the definition of the duty to consult from a 2010 Supreme Court decision.

That ruling said that the duty arises “when the Crown has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the Aboriginal right or title and contemplates conduct that might adversely affect it.”

‘Happened over and over’

Augustine, who has been dealing with governments on resource issues for four decades, said he warned SWN Resources before they began seismic testing in 2013 that they needed to follow a consultation process.

“Every protest that I’ve seen across the country has already been the industry thinking they can just plow their way through the territory and pay no attention to the rights of the people, pay no attention to the history and culture of our people,” he said.

“That was a big mistake and that’s what happened over and over again.”

Anti-shale gas protesters blocked Highway 11 near Rexton in December of 2013. (Twitter)

Stewart maintained Friday that until cabinet approved the order to exempt the Sussex area from the moratorium, there was not much to consult on.

But he said he and Energy and Resource Development Minister Mike Holland were set to meet four Mi’kmaq chiefs and an elder later the same day.

Wolastoqey Nation opposition

In a statement released Friday by the Wolostoqey Nation, comprised of St. Mary’s, Woodstock, Madawaska, Oromocto, Tobique and Kingsclear First Nations, leaders denounced the “shocking, unacceptable, and unlawful” lifting of the moratorium.

The letter said part of the area where the moratorium is being lifted includes unceded Wolastoqey territory.

“The Province’s attempt to secretly open the door to fracking in our Territory is shocking, unacceptable, and unlawful. They need to restore the Moratorium immediately, and they need to have a serious dialogue with Indigenous peoples before taking any more steps in that direction,” said Patricia Bernard, Chief of Madawaska First Nation.

The statement also quoted Ross Perley, Chief of Tobique First Nation, saying he is disappointed by the move and promises to stop development.

“It falls short of the Higgs Government’s promise of defining a new relationship with the Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaw Nations,” he said. “It is our job to ensure the protection of lands and waters for our future generations and we will unify with our Mi’kmaw brothers and sisters to stop this development.”

By: Jacques Poitras ·  CBC News · Posted: Jun 08, 2019

[SOURCE]

Minnesota Regulators Postpone Line 3 Meeting After Protests

FILE: Protest against the Enbridge Line 3 replacement in Minnesota.

Enbridge Line 3 meetings postponed after protests erupt

Minnesota regulators postponed a meeting Tuesday on Enbridge Energy’s planned Line 3 replacement after pipeline opponents disrupted the meeting with a bullhorn and a boombox.

Protests erupted as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met to discuss whether Enbridge met conditions earlier imposed by the panel. The PUC approved the project in June, giving Enbridge a green light to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across Minnesota.

Opponents in the back of the PUC hearing room took out a bullhorn and made speeches aimed at the commissioners, the Star Tribune reported.

“You should all be ashamed,” one protester said.

PUC Chairwoman Nancy Lange recessed the meeting but eventually canceled it when a protester playing music on a boombox refused to turn it off.

Several opponents sat with their backs facing the commissioners. Their shirts featured slogans such as “Enbridge lap dogs.”

In a statement, Enbridge said it was “unfortunate that a small group of people derailed” the meeting. The Canadian-based company said the conditions that were up for discussion were intended to “protect Minnesotans.”

“We acknowledge that the process has been long and difficult and raised many passionate interventions. But what happened today crossed the line,” Enbridge said.

State Rep. Dan Fabian, a Roseau Republican who chairs the Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, also criticized the protesters.

“Minnesota is better than this nonsense,” Fabian said in a statement. He called on Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, the PUC and local law enforcement “to do whatever necessary to prevent disruptions like this from happening in the future.”

Line 3 runs from Alberta, Canada, across North Dakota and Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Enbridge wants to replace the line, which it built in the 1960s and is running at only about half its original capacity. The replacement would restore its original capacity. But Native American and environmental activists contend the new line risks spills in fragile areas.

By The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Kinder Morgan suspends work on Trans Mountain pipeline amid B.C. opposition

A man holds a sign while listening as other protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline extension defy a court order and block an entrance to the company’s property, in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday April 7, 2018. CP/Darryl Dyck

Kinder Morgan says it is suspending all non-essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The company says its decision is based on the British Columbia government’s opposition to the project, which has been the focus of sustained protests at its marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

Kinder Morgan says it will consult with “various stakeholders” to try and reach an agreement by May 31 that might allow the project to proceed.

The company’s decision will be seen as a blow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has insisted that the pipeline would be built, despite the angry protests and the B.C. government’s continued battle against the project in the courts.

The expansion, which would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to Burnaby, was approved by the federal government in 2016.

Kinder Morgan says it will make a decision about the project’s future based on whether it can get “clarity” on its ability to do construction in B.C. and protect its shareholders.

“As KML has repeatedly stated, we will be judicious in our use of shareholder funds. In keeping with that commitment, we have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” Steve Kean, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments.”

Kean said the uncertainty around the company’s ability to finish the project “leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control.”

About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., during recent protests.

By: The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Burnaby won’t cover policing costs related to Trans Mountain protests

An RCMP officer reads a court order to Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, right, and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, second from right, before they were arrested after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on March 23, 2018.

The City of Burnaby, where protests and arrests have been taking place over work under way to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, has ruled out paying policing costs related to managing the activism, says its mayor.

Like many B.C. communities, Burnaby is policed by the RCMP, and is normally on the hook for expenses, but Mayor Derek Corrigan – a vocal critic of the pipeline project – says he is drawing the line at overtime and other RCMP costs related to Trans Mountain as a project the city opposes.

“We’re not paying for the additional policing costs that are being accumulated as a result of the protests at the Trans Mountain project,” Mr. Corrigan said in an interview. “I don’t think there is anybody in the Western world who doesn’t know now that Burnaby is not paying.”

He casts the position as a reflection of Burnaby’s opposition to the project as well as the view that the Trudeau government, which approved the project, should be picking up the costs to deal with protests against it.

This isn’t the first time the issue has come up. The B.C. government says there is an outstanding $800,000 bill for policing 2014 protests related to the project that “remains in dispute,” according to a statement from the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor-General.

“The province is aware of Burnaby’s views on paying for these policing matters and we confirm there is an outstanding non-payment with respect to 2014,” said the provincial statement issued by Colin Hynes for the Ministry of Public Safety.

In their statement, the provincial public safety and Solicitor-General’s ministry said the Police Act in B.C. compels municipalities with populations over 15,000 to pay for the cost of policing within their boundaries. “This includes the cost of policing matters related to civil disobedience.”

However, the ministry said the dispute will not affect policing. “It is important to note that regardless of any disagreement over funding, policing services will continue uninterrupted and will be unaffected by any funding disagreement.”

Ironically, British Columbia’s NDP government has been sharply opposed to the expansion of the pipeline – a policy that has pitted them against the NDP government in Alberta, which is a proponent for the project.

Mr. Corrigan’s stand comes amidst increasing protests over the project. According to the Burnaby RCMP, 54 demonstrators against the project were arrested on Saturday for breaching a court-ordered injunction that prohibits protesters from coming within five metres of a pair of terminals in Burnaby operated by project proponent Kinder Morgan. Last Friday, federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart were arrested in protests.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, which has been approved by the federal government, will triple the capacity of the pipeline to about 900,000 barrels from 300,000. In recent weeks, one protest drew more than 5,000 people – and a police presence to manage the gathering.

Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain project, said in a statement issued Sunday that “Trans Mountain’s view is that policing is a local government cost. “

Mr. Corrigan said the Mounties have told him they may take the matter to dispute resolution. While he said he has no details on that process, an RCMP spokesperson in B.C. pointed out there are provisions for working through disputes in the service agreement on municipal policing in B.C.

The mayor also said he is skeptical about RCMP assurances that dealing with the protests won’t distract from routine policing needs in Burnaby.

“They’re telling me, no, they are not diminishing any of the resources that are available to the community. But I can’t help but think this takes a toll in being able to deal with these issues,” Mr. Corrigan said. “While I am being assured that it is now, I am suspicious that it is.”

In a series of e-mail responses to Globe and Mail questions on the issue, a spokesperson for the RCMP E-Division covering B.C. said the force is dealing with protests now and looking to eventually deal with costs.

“The RCMP goal for any demonstrations is to ensure that they take place in a peaceful, lawful and safe manner. We will deploy the resources necessary to accomplish this,” Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said in an e-mail.

Sgt. Shoihet said the Burnaby RCMP don’t have contingency funds for their responsibilities but, rather, respond to calls for service and rolls salaries, expenses and other costs into an annual policing budget for the detachment.

“As you can imagine, it’s difficult to predict how many calls for service we’ll get in relation to one specific event or a series of events and therefore difficult to predict how many resources we’ll need to respond.”

Mr. Corrigan said the protests against Trans Mountain are going to get worse.

“This is the overture to what ‘s going to happen later on. I anticipate there will only be an escalation of the protests over the next months. This problem is only going to become progressively worse.”

The Globe and Mail 

[SOURCE]

How Black Bloc Activists Have Changed Protests

A Black Bloc protester throws a chair during an anti-racism demonstration, in Quebec City on Sunday, August 20, 2017. (CP/Jacques Boissinot)

The images were striking: massive blockades, protesters donning masks and black hoods suddenly racing across streets, throwing stones and destroying cars.

Such were the chaotic scenes during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany this July. Amid the looting, clashes with police and general frenzy, slogans were also emblazoned on walls offering “Free hugs for Black Blocs.”

What are the Black Blocs? And why are they associated with the G20 violence?

The Black Bloc is an anti-establishment protest tactic featuring demonstrators dressed entirely in black and concealing their identities.

Black Blocs are often demonized by the media and held as solely responsible for the chaos at major summits, even though many of the rioters lack the traditional Black Bloc garb.

After the G20, Der Spiegel published an article condemning “black-masked rioters” whose “sole purpose was to sow violence,” comparing them unfavourably with people conducting “real political protest” which it argued was now “more important than ever.”

That’s similar to the condemnation of the so-called anti-globalist movements.

Behind the mask

Embodying “new anarchy” principles, Black Blocs operate without hierarchy. They are temporary groups formed for a specific protest. Black Blocs do not exist before and after a given event.

The tactic of forming Black Blocs first appeared around 1980 in West Germany. It arose from the counter-culture movement in which people lived in squats, trying to emancipate themselves from the dual influence of government and capitalism. These “Autonomen” (autonomous people) marched against nuclear power and neo-Nazis.

They formed Black Blocs during demonstrations in order to ward off the threat of eviction from their squats, including Hamburg’s notorious Hafenstra├ƒe squat. To this day, the Berlin anti-capitalist May Day protest still includes a significant Black Bloc presence.

The tactic spread through activist networks and punk music, reaching the United States and Canada in the early 1990s.

The Battle of Seattle during the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) Summit, which received wide media coverage, was a turning point in the dissemination of Black Bloc ideology.

Since then, the tactic has been taken up by the anti-austerity movement, the student movement (notably in France, Italy and Quebec), and such non-Western countries as Brazil and Egypt.

Black Blocs are also active in anti-police demonstrations.

Due to their particular aesthetic, Black Bloc tactics are easily duplicated once they’ve been observed, like in so-called “riot porn” videos, for instance.

Yet they vary from place to place. In Germany, Black Blocs often march with banners on all sides, as protesters walk arm-in-arm. Elsewhere, individual black-clad protesters appear throughout the march or form smaller groups. Supporting groups may tag along, such as activist brass bands or street medics.

In terms of demographic makeup (class, gender, race), Black Blocs differ over time and from place to place. Black Bloc protesters might be anarchists, Communists, environmentalists, feminists, queer activists, disillusioned social democrats, students, people unemployed or holding down odd jobs. In any case, according to a Black Bloc slogan: “Who we are is less important than what we want. And we want everything, for everyone.”

The Black Bloc has become a beacon for rebellion, the object of a certain revolutionary romanticism. For many, being part of a Black Bloc is proof of their radical convictions; others see it as a display of masculinity, tinged with misogyny.

In fact, women tend to prefer to form small single-sex Black Blocs, ensuring greater solidarity among themselves.

Black Blocs and the media

One of the arguments used to discredit Black Blocs is that they get media attention at the expense of non-violent protest. Yet experts in the sociology of communication have observed that the peaceful protests are often overlooked by journalists, who rarely report their demands.

And so the media obsession with Black Blocs apparently benefits all the protest movements. It’s also important to remember the results of a 2010 study on the media fallout of the 1999 Seattle Black Bloc: The overexposure of “anarchists” led to a substantial increase in visits to websites associated with anarchy (Indymedia, Infoshop, etc.)

In Brazil in 2013, hundreds of thousands of people visited the Facebook pages of local Black Blocs.

Black Blocs also publish news releases on independent media, explaining their causes and choice of targets — for example, multinationals exploiting workers and polluting the Earth, banks making profits off our collective debt, police protecting the political elite and private companies, etc.

But for those already familiar with anarchy politics, words are unnecessary: the target is the message. Black Blocs are a byproduct of the “age of riots,” characterized by a crisis of political legitimacy, austerity, and increasingly militarized police forces. In this context, riots are the language of the unheard, to use the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

What violence?

Some security experts and scholars (those specializing in the Years of Lead in Italy, for example) have suggested that Black Bloc tactics are a gateway to terrorism and polemicists have conflated them with Islamic terrorism.

Yet the anarchist movement long ago renounced the idea of armed struggle, with the apparent exception of the Fire Nuclei in Greece (several members of which are currently in prison) and a clandestine network in Italy.

Furthermore, Black Bloc activists do not share Islamist values. Some even joined Kurdish forces in fighting the Islamic State.

As for Black Bloc violence, from a historical and political sociology standpoint, it is extremely limited and Black Bloc do not peddle in extreme violence used, for instance, in the 1970s by far-left groups. It has even been called “symbolic” by some academics.

Its goal is to desecrate the symbols of capitalism (the windows of banks and multinational clothing or fast food companies, to name some examples) and to defend protesters against potential police violence. Yet in some cases, some participants throw objects at police (rocks, bottles, fireworks and, on rare occasions, Molotov cocktails).

Although the issue of Black Bloc “violence” generates much heated discussion, increasing solidarity with Black Blocs is being observed within social movements.

The teachers’ union in Brazil extended an invitation to Black Bloc protesters when demonstrating, as did Indigenous groups during protests against the Olympic Games on “stolen land” in Vancouver in 2010. Hundreds of people protested alongside the Black Blocs in the French demonstrations against a revised labour law in 2016.

Activists today often uphold the principle of “varied tactics,” which was formally laid down in 2000 by Montreal’s Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes (CLAC).

“The Black Bloc is dead,” anarchists declared a decade ago in the post-9-11 era of police repression.

That was premature. The Black Bloc is still very much alive and well, and continues to spread from protest to protest and from continent to continent.

By Francis Dupuis-Deri, The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Colombia’s Riot Police Sent Back to School to Learn About Human Rights

written by Adriaan Alsema, June 16, 2017

Members of Colombia’s feared ESMAD riot unit must take compulsory courses in human rights, the country’s State Council ordered while convicting the unit for killing a student during a protest.

The ESMAD unit is one of Colombia’s most feared and loathed police units, because of recurring reports of police brutality and excessive violence in the curbing of social protest.

In the last month alone, the unit was accused of throwing teargas into people’s homes and aiming at protesters’ bodies when western Colombia rose up and protested peacefully to demand an end to chronic state neglect and violence.

In Bogota, the unit used teargas and water cannons to break up a month-long peaceful protest of teachers demanding structural investment in the country’s substandard education system.

In the ruling condemning the execution of a student protester in Cali in 2005, the National Government was ordered to submit each of the country’s riot police units to compulsory schooling on human rights, after reminding authorities that public manifestations are Colombians’ constitutional right.


The mere taking part in a civilian protest does not represent a transgression of legal order since the inhabitants [of Colombia] have the right to express their dissent to measures adopted by state authorities.

Council of State

The court also urged the Prosecutor General’s Office to re-open the homicide investigation that was closed before going to court, but is now investigated by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States.


The damage that result from this kind of reproachable behavior must be known, judged and repaired before civilian justice, before submitting the victims of the armed conflict to the wearisome burden of demanding a conviction in international courts., in addition to the fact that this circumstance leaves the Colombian justice system ill-served and is portrayed before the international community as an instance lacking efficiency, suitability and social legitimacy.

Council of State

Colombia’s Congress last year debated a proposal to disband the controversial unit, but the bill never made it to the final vote.

Colombia Reports

[SOURCE]

Standing Rock and the Battle Beyond

An insight into the battle for Native American land rights as protests continue against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Staff |  Dec 27, 2016

For months, Native Americans have been protesting against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a multibillion-dollar construction project that tribal leaders say is threatening sacred sites, as well as the tribe’s source of drinking water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the federal government failed to properly consult with them before issuing permits for the pipeline.

All the women and children were along the line crying, they had just gone through pepper spraying everybody… people then started pushing as the [attack] dogs were coming. – Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, founder, Sacred Stone Camp

Protests against the project have been growing since April and began when a handful of people set up camp, just south of the proposed pipeline on the land of Ladonna Brave Bull Allard.

When the Army Corps approved the first major permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Allard received a 48-hour heads up, warning her of work commencing on the pipeline. It was then that the Sioux took the Army Corps to federal court – Allard called in for reinforcements using a social media video, calling people to stand with the cause.

Since then, thousands of people, including tribes across the US, have joined historic demonstrations in support of the Sioux.

In December, the Obama administration handed them a victory, denying a final permit the company needed and saying different routes for the pipeline would be sought.

But the election of Donald Trump has cast doubt on that decision, and the company in charge of constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline says it isn’t backing down.

Fault Lines examines the case against the pipeline, connecting it to other fights being waged by US tribes that have helped build the growing movement at Standing Rock.

Editor’s note: We have used archive footage in this Fault Lines episode from Democracy Now! and Unicorn Riot.

Source: Al Jazeera

US Army Corps: Those Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline Will Not Be Forcibly Removed

2016-11-16t003339z_1_lynxmpecaf00m_rtroptp_2_north-dakota-pipeline-jpg-cf

Protesters block a highway during a protest in Mandan against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, North Dakota, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Army Corps seeking peaceful transition to free speech zone

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 28, 2016

Water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota vowed Saturday to remain in their camp after the US Army Corps of Engineers told them to leave the federal land they’ve occupied.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of protesters seeking to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, but both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they have no plans for “forcible removal” of the protesters.

The Army Corps provided an update Sunday, on their plans to close off their land involved in protests against the Energy Transfer Partners LP, pipeline project.

According to Aljazeera, the Army Corps which manages the government land where the main camp protesting the Dakota Access pipeline is located, said last week it would close public access to the area on Dec 5.

RELATED:

On Sunday, the Army Corps said it had no plans to “forcibly remove” anyone who remains, though a statement said that to do so was risky. The statement said anyone who remained would be considered unauthorized and could be subject to various citations.

Although the order said people who defy it could face legal consequences, officials said Monday the state also would not seek to forcibly remove people.

Citing increased violence between water protectors and law enforcement and the increasingly harsh winter conditions, on Friday the Army Corps said it decided to close its land to the protesters who have been there since early April.

The Corps, has established a free speech zone on land south of the Cannonball River and is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to the safer location.

This transition is also necessary to protect the general public from the dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement officials which have occurred near this area. “Unfortunately, it is apparent that more dangerous groups have joined this protest and are provoking conflict in spite of the public pleas from Tribal leaders. We are working to transition those engaged in peaceful protest from this area and enable law enforcement authorities to address violent or illegal acts as appropriate to protect public safety,” said Omaha District Commander, Col. John Henderson.

Free Speech Area. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

Free Speech Area. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

The Army Corps, asked the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, in a letter to tell members of his tribe, along with supporters there, to move to a free speech zone, — which is slightly more than 41 acres and provides clearer jurisdiction for police, fire and medical units.

MPR News reports, Oceti Sakowin is on federal land, but according to treaties cited by tribal leaders, the land and the rivers belonged to the Sioux Tribe.

Archambault II and other protest organizers made it clear that they planned to stay in the Oceti Sakowin camp — one of three camps near the pipeline construction site.

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Nick Tilsen with the Indigenous Peoples Power Project, pictured here on Nov. 26, 2016, says Native Americans are not going to move out of Oceti Sakowin Camp “unless it’s on our own terms because this is our treaty land.” Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

As news of the Army Corps’ intention to shut down the camp spread over the weekend, people like environmental activist Nick Tilsen expressed renewed resolve.

“Indigenous people are here to stay,” he said.

Tribal elders call the Standing Rock protest movement a spiritual war and rebirth for Native Americans everywhere.

An Oglala Sioux member from South Dakota, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “We have every right to be here to protect our land and to protect our water.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, believe the Dakota Access pipeline could contaminate their water source, the Missouri River, and desecrate the tribe’s sacred sites.

Dakota Access Pipeline Set To Begin Final Stretch, Mobilizing To Drill Under Missouri River

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters confront bulldozers working on the Dakota Access pipeline in September. (AFP/Getty Images file photo)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and supporters confront bulldozers working on the Dakota Access pipeline in September. (AFP/Getty Images file photo)

Dakota Access preparing for tunneling under Missouri River within weeks

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 09, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners, the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is reportedly preparing to start construction on the final stretch of the $3.7 billion pipeline project.

Dakota Access released a statement last night, saying construction is now complete on both sides of the Lake Oahe crossing. The pipeline operator is moving equipment to prepare for the tunneling under Lake Oahe — a dammed section of the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

According to the release, Dakota Access expects to have fully mobilized all equipment needed to drill under the Missouri River within 2 weeks.

Federal regulators have not yet given the company the green light to start construction work. The pipeline operator is still awaiting an easement for land next to the lake, but the company said it “remains confident that it will receive the easement for these two strips of land adjacent to Lake Oahe in a time frame that will not result in any significant delay.”

Dakota Access also refuted a comment reportedly given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the company had agreed to slow construction.

Energy Transfer told Reuters that the Army Corps statement was a “mistake” and the Corps “intends to rescind it.”

In September, following protests by Environmentalists and Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army Corps asked Energy Transfer to voluntarily halt all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe. But the company ignored the request and pressed on toward the Missouri River, arguing that they had received all the necessary permits and approvals from the Army Corps and did not intend to stop.

Watch Drone Footage of Dakota Access Pipeline Approaching Missouri River:

https://vimeo.com/189876726%20

On October 31, President Barack Obama said the Army Corps is considering a reroute of the Dakota Access pipeline in this area and will let federal agency regulatory processes “play out” in the next several weeks. It remains unclear how the pipeline could be rerouted if construction is already occurring up to the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, has long argued that the Dakota Access pipeline threatens sacred lands, cultural artifacts and will pollute water supplies.

Today, Forum News Service reported, staff from the North Dakota Public Service Commission have proposed a $15,000 fine for Dakota Access for potential permit violations after the company failed to notify the commission about cultural artifacts discovered in the pipeline route in Morton County on Oct. 17.

Map of the Dakota Access Pipeline Route

Map of the Dakota Access Pipeline Route

Lake Oahe, the body of water at the heart of the protests, straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.

This last phase of construction will join the two already-completed sections of the pipeline.

On Nov. 7, Unicorn Riot documented active pipeline construction that could be seen from the main Oceti Sakowin encampment.

The Dakota Access pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

UPDATE:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers renewed its call Wednesday, Nov. 9, for Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to voluntarily stop construction near Lake Oahe, citing concerns for people involved with continued protests north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

“We are concerned over recent statements from DAPL regarding our request to voluntarily stop work, which are intended to diffuse tensions surrounding their operations near Corps-managed federal land until we have a clear path forward,” said Col. John W. Henderson, commander of the Omaha district, in a statement released late Wednesday.

Representatives from the Army Corps also have met recently with tribal officials and agreed to work proactively to defuse tensions between demonstrators and law enforcement, Henderson said.

“We again ask DAPL to voluntarily cease operations in this area as their absence will help reduce these tensions,” Henderson said.