Dakota Pipeline – Not Over Yet


Judge to consider completion of Dakota pipeline in February

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Friday set a tentative court hearing for February in the Dakota Access pipeline’s bid to force the government to approve finishing the contested project.

Citing losses of $20 million a week, David Debold, an attorney for pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, said that without a expedited decision the matter could “drag out forever” after construction was halted Sunday by the Obama administration.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg acknowledged that the company’s challenge could be rendered moot following next month’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, whose incoming administration has expressed support for the fraught project, which for months has been shadowed by protests involving the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Last weekend, the Army Corps of Engineers said it would not approve an easement for the pipeline to cross a reservoir on the Missouri River in North Dakota at the Standing Rock reservation, where protesters have been camped. The contested portion represents the final section of the 1,172-mile line.

“None of us have any idea of whether the incoming administration will make this matter moot,” Boasberg told a packed courtroom, which included a number of protesters who traveled to D.C. for the hearing and a demonstration scheduled for Saturday.

“They are desperate to get this pipeline under the river,” said DiDi Banerji, 51, who serves as a nurse at the protest camp. “We are worried about what a change in administration could do. If Trump approves this, the (protest) actions are going to start again.”

 

Demonstrators greet each other near the entrance of the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue demonstrations against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline continue near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Demonstrators greet each other near the entrance of the Oceti Sakowin camp as “water protectors” continue demonstrations against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline continue near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

 

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While our native people decide whether to stay or leave the Standing Rock, the courts are looking at what they will decide after the New Year and Trump is inaugurated. Can and will the court be and/or remain neutral after Trump is in office, we can only guess. It is my hope that the insanity that surrounds Trump will not reach into the judicial branch.

 

My heart goes out to the native people because they have all worked so hard and have endured so much from weather, to water canons, to rubber bullets and law enforcement making rude comments. They have had to leave their homes and comforts. I am sure in a moment of complete honesty they would miss their beds, showers and kitchens. Would they conduct the protests again? I am sure they would and I am sure that if they leave, they will return to protest.

 

They are America’s water protectors and their sacred land is of utmost important to them. I think that the rest of America needs to really think about this and the importance of water to the life and health of all Americans. Think about what has happened to the city of Flint, Michigan and its residents. For two years, children and adults have become ill and were hospitalized and have suffered unnecessarily. Suffered because they didn’t have access to safe clean water. Here in America.

 

The native people are Americas’ water protectors and they are mine and I hope your heroes. They took a stand and they put their actions where their words were. There was no hypocrisy. These descendents of the original people, that we murdered and put on reservations have shown us how to be authentic Americans. I will always stand with them in pride.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

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