Trump’s Pipeline and America’s Shame

The New Yorker

Trump’s Pipeline and America’s Shame

By Bill McKibben      February 8, 2017

The Trump Administration is breaking with tradition on so many fronts—renting out the family hotel to foreign diplomats, say, or imposing travel restrictions on the adherents of disfavored religions—that it seems noteworthy when it exhibits some continuity with American custom. And so let us focus for a moment, before the President’s next disorienting tweet, on yesterday’s news that construction of the Dakota Access pipeline will be restarted, a development that fits in perfectly with one of this country’s oldest cultural practices, going back to the days of Plymouth Rock: repressing Native Americans.

Just to rehash the story briefly, this pipeline had originally been set to carry its freight of crude oil under the Missouri River, north of Bismarck. But the predominantly white citizens of that town objected, pointing out that a spill could foul their drinking water. So the pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, remapped the crossing for just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This piece of blatant environmental racism elicited a remarkable reaction, eventually drawing representatives of more than two hundred Indian nations from around the continent to a great encampment at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, near where the pipeline was set to go. They were joined, last summer and into the fall, by clergy groups, veterans groups, environmental groups—including 350.org, the climate-advocacy organization I co-founded—and private citizens, who felt that this was a chance to begin reversing four centuries of literally and figuratively dumping on Native Americans. And the protesters succeeded. Despite the German shepherds and pepper spray let loose by E.T.P.’s security guards, despite the fire hoses and rubber bullets employed by the various paramilitary police forces that assembled, they kept a nonviolent discipline that eventually persuaded the Obama Administration to agree to further study of the plan.

More remarkably, it was the U.S. Army that took the lead—the same agency that had massacred and harassed Native Americans since its founding. On December 4th, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, announced that the easement required for E.T.P. to dig beneath the Missouri would not be granted. Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers would prepare an environmental-impact statement, a lengthy process that effectively put the pipeline on hold. “It’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said at the time. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.” So the Corps set about organizing public hearings and taking testimony; until Tuesday afternoon, we were in the middle of that period, with signatures coming in by the hundred thousand. But at three o’clock yesterday, acting on the President’s suggestion that the environmental review be “expedited,” the Army reverted to ancient form, shutting down the public-comment process and issuing the permits that E.T.P. needs to begin digging again. Suddenly there was not “more work to do.” Somehow, in the eighteen days since Donald Trump had taken office, Robert Speer, the acting secretary of the Army, had obtained “sufficient information” to grant the approval.

One feels for the Army brass. Had they continued to act responsibly and in line with their previous commitments, their careers likely would not have progressed. (Speer is apparently no Sally Yates, though those of us worried about the choleric Trump and his proximity to the nuclear-launch codes must hope that someone in the Pentagon is.) In any event, digging is scheduled to begin as early as this afternoon. There should, and will, be substantial protests. The first demonstrations began in major cities today, and the Standing Rock Sioux have asked Americans to descend on Washington, D.C., on March 10th. By that point, the pipeline may be all but finished, but the tribe and its attorneys at the environmental group Earthjustice have vowed to keep fighting it in the courts, even once it is carrying oil.

The bigger battle, however, may be in the tribunal of public opinion. The pipeline is a bad idea on many grounds, none of which is likely to sway Trump. (The fact that the oil it carries has the same carbon footprint as nearly thirty coal-fired power plants would perhaps seem a plus to him.) Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, recently noted that Trump has yet to meet with any Native American leaders since taking office, which is possibly for the best, given the casual racism  that might ensue. But the protests at Standing Rock have reopened the question of how the rest of America, those of us not in the White House, will treat the continent’s original inhabitants. In this standoff, we have confronted our oldest and one of our most shameful stories. That shame will deepen now—which may, once Trump is gone, allow us to move closer to real reconciliation. At any rate, we owe a great debt to the protesters, who have acted with a dignity conspicuously lacking in the Oval Office.

Bill McKibben, a former New Yorker staff writer, is the founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College.

Seattle Committee Proposes Unanimous Bill to Pull $3 billion from Dakota Access Pipeline lender Wells Fargo

Justice

Seattle Committee Responds to Standing Rock

On Wednesday, Seattle’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee voted unanimously to forward a bill to pull $3 billion from DAPL lender Wells Fargo to the full City Council. This follows a Tuesday announcement that the U.S Army Corps of Engineers will issue an easement allowing them to begin the last stages of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The bill would terminate the city’s contract with Wells Fargo and require the city to consider social justice issues when granting city contracts for construction and other projects, the Seattle Times reports.

Demonstrators gathered at City Hall on Wednesday in anticipation of the vote, decrying the pipeline’s construction in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and protestors in North Dakota.

“You faced down attack dogs, blizzards, and rubber bullets,” Councilmember Kshama Sawant told crowds Wednesday. “If we do not fight we will not win.”

“Let’s build on this, make sure other cities move to divest from Wells Fargo,” Sawant continued, as she cast her vote. The proposal will go before the city council next week.

Where activists are trying to get their cities to follow Seattle’s lead.

“For too long, Native American culture and history has been desecrated, dismissed and commoditized,” environmental attorney Robyn Purchia wrote in a Wednesday opinion piece published in the San Francisco Examiner.

“If San Franciscans want to lead the resistance, we must fight backward policies in Washington, D.C., and our own backyard,” she continued. “We must divest from banks and companies that fund pollution and invest in future generations.”

Protestors including a small group of Native youth holding a banner bearing the word “Divest” took the streets of Arcata, California in a Saturday demonstration.

Despite pressure from Boulder, Colorado activists, the city’s Finance Department is urging the City Council not to divest from pipeline funder JP Morgan Chase, Boulder local news site the Daily Camera reports.

The Seattle vote arrives amidst a heated back-and-forth over the fine print of Tuesday’s statement, issued by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer ordered the Army Corps to issue the easement required to complete the oil pipeline, Hoeven asserted.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe responded to Hoeven’s remarks in a Tuesday evening statement. The tribe argued the Corps could not legally proceed to issue the easement without producing an environmental impact statement (EIS) the Corps pledged to issue in December.

“The Army Corps lacks statutory authority to simply stop the EIS and issue the easement,” the statement reads. “The Corps must review the Presidential Memorandum, notify Congress, and actually grant the easement. We have not received formal notice that the EIS has been suspended or withdrawn.”

The tribe pledged to fight a suspension or withdrawal of the EIS in court.

Desperate North Dakota Governor Blames Social Media for Failure on DAPL

From Mean Read, North Dakota Media and Politics News.                   Posted By: The Editor December 9, 2016

It’s become apparent to everyone that North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s leadership was nonexistent during the Dakota Access pipeline fiasco.

Even the conservative commentator Chris Berg of Valley News Live couldn’t help but ridicule the governor’s inability to reach a negotiation with pipeline protesters.

The Fargo Forum revealed that Jack has sent and received a total of zero (0) emails regarding the pipeline protest, despite it being the most significant issue in the state over the past few months. How is that possible?

Under his watch, the state has become a symbol of bullying to audiences worldwide for the ham-handed law enforcement response to the pipeline protests. And at the end of it all, the federal government decided to deny a necessary easement where the pipeline hoped to cross Lake Oahe.

In short, Dalrymple failed on every imaginable front.

Yesterday the lame-duck governor, who resembles less a duck and more a naked mole rat, met with the Forum Editorial Board to make a big announcement: It’s social media’s fault.

“There’s a new paradigm,” he said, referring to social media. “I try to do what I can, but I’m not match for that organization.”

So the governor, with all the authority of the state behind him, says he’s powerless in the face of Facebook shares. Very weak.

Obviously grasping for straws, Dalrymple also blamed the Dakota Access pipeline company for “abdicating” its role to publicly defend the project.

“It’s as safe a pipe as you can build,” Dalrymple pointed out, oblivious that pipelines have been leaking all over the state, including one just this week.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, also in attendance at the editorial board meeting, came up with a unique scapegoat of his own: Native Americans!

“The Native Americans are being used, absolutely being used, by these outside agitators,” he said.

Speaking of “being used,” Dalrymple has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in  campaign contributions from the oil industry.

 

December 9, 2016, John Hanno, www.tarbabys.com

North Dakota is the poster child for the past; fossil fuel extraction at whatever cost to the environment. The future Trump Administration and the Republi-con controlled Congress should take notice. If they insist on rolling back progress made by the Obama Administration on climate change and the transition from dirty and toxic fossil fuel to sustainable energy, they will garner the same determined opposition. Native Americans, environmentalists, American Veterans and other protectors are the future, and they are becoming expert at exploiting social media. The evildoers like Gov. Dalrymple, as he stated himself, are no match for this new social media juggernaut because they are on the wrong side of the issue. The earth destroyers have on their side, fossil fuel interests, the uber banks, multi-millionaire and billionaire investors, and the red state political panderers, but the Earth Protectors have their God, their prayers and everyone else, with a modicum of common sense, standing with them.  It’s really no contest.

The Dakota Access bank funding map is shown at, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/09/07/whos-banking-dakota-access-pipeline

Posted on Veterans For Standing Rock #NoDAPL gofundme

Posted on Veterans For Standing Rock #NoDAPL gofundme

John Hanno December 7, 2016

I’m a veteran who’s supported Standing Rock Sioux Protectors since the beginning of the protests through my blog www.tarbabys.com. Please sign the petition to President Obama. Change.org Petition The Dakota Access pipeline poses a catastrophic threat to Native American sacred lands and to the critical water source for more than 17 million Americans down stream of the Missouri River crossing. We know that President Elect Trump has a serious conflict of interest by owning large investments in DAPL and other fossil fuel assets; and his energy team includes Harold Hamm, billionaire founder of Continental Resources oil company, and someone Mr. Trump might name as his Secretary of Energy. Mr. Trump and the Koch brothers said they support extractive exploitation of public lands and National Parks. President Obama must not only order the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the pipeline permits and stop the Dakota Access pipeline but we petition President Obama to cede to the Sovereign Standing Rock Sioux Nation water protectors, ownership rights to Army Corp land surrounding and including Lake Oahe and land at the pipeline crossing of the Missouri river, before he leaves office; and / or in the alternative, permanently protect this land by declaring it a National Park or National Monument. After suffering centuries of persecution and exploitation, Native Americans deserve justice. This land belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Rez before it was taken back. President Elect Trump has stated he will quickly approve the Dakota Access pipeline and also reverse President Obama’s decision to deny approval of Keystone XL pipeline. We have an enormous glut of oil reserves at Cushing, Oklahoma. The clear purpose of Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines is not to make America energy independent but to reap enormous profits for greedy oil interests exporting oil to China. We must protect our environment and our oil resources. This outdated fossil fuel infrastructure is not needed and railroads serving the Bakkan North Dakota oil fields have invested heavily in improved railroad oil tank car safety and have stated that they have more than enough railroad capacity to transport the Bakkan oil. They will also be able to permanently rehire thousands of laid off North Dakota railroad workers. America must finally honor the first Americans and our first environmentalists by stopping Dakota Access.

Thank You to All Standing Rock Protectors, Dave Archambault, II, Chairman

John,

Yesterday we were notified that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access pipeline. Instead, they will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement regarding alternative routes for the pipeline. This action strongly vindicates what the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been saying all along – that we all have a responsibility to protect our waters for future generations.

This is an historic moment. For centuries, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and tribes across the country, have faced fundamental injustice at the hands of the federal government – which time and again took our lands and tried to destroy our way of life. Our Treaties and our human rights were ignored, our interests in protecting lands and waters were considered unimportant, and our voices were not heard.
It was this shared history that led Tribes to come together as never before to seek the protection of our waters against the threat of the Dakota Access pipeline. With peace and prayer, indigenous people from hundreds of Tribes said: our future is too important. We can no longer be ignored. The goal was to protect these sacred waters, and to do so in the name of our children.
And, with yesterday’s decision, it is clear that our voices have at long last been heard.
Yesterday’s decision demonstrates that, despite all the challenges that Tribes face and all of the terrible wrongs the federal government has committed in dealing with us over the years, justice for Indian people still remains possible. My thanks to the Obama Administration, and particularly to Assistant Secretary Darcy, for upholding the law and doing the right thing.
Yesterday’s decision belongs in large measure to the thousands of courageous people who put their lives on hold to stand with Standing Rock in support of a basic principle — that water is life. At Standing Rock, our youth played an important role in spreading our message and I am so proud of what they have been able to accomplish.
But Standing Rock could not have come this far alone. Hundreds of tribes came together in a display of tribal unity not seen in hundreds of years. And many thousands of indigenous people from around the world have prayed with us and made us stronger. I am grateful to each of you. And, as we turn a page with yesterday’s decision, I look forward to working with many of you as you return to your home communities to protect your lands and waters, and the sovereignty of your tribes.
My thanks to all of our allies, here and around the world, each of whom contributed to this effort. I want to give a special mention to the veterans who have come to Standing Rock in recent days. I am sure that the strength of your message in support of Standing Rock, and the rights of the Water Protectors, had a powerful impact as the Army made its decision. I appreciate all you have done.
While today is a great day, there is still much that needs to be done to protect Tribal rights and ensure justice for indigenous people everywhere. Using peace and prayer as our guideposts, and with the teachings of our elders and with inspiration from our youth, I believe there is much we can accomplish for the future.

Sincerely,
Dave Archambault, II, Chairman
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Army Corps of Engineers Will Deny Easement for Dakota Access

That’s great news, but as soon as the Trump Administration takes over, they will try to order the Corps to issue the easement. President Obama must permanently protect this land and water by ceding the land at Lakes Oahe and Sakakawea back to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, or in the alternative, to designate it a National Park or National Monument. The Rez will surely take care of the land better than a corporation interested only in financial profit and extracting every ounce of fossil fuel asset for export to China. The Sioux Nations will make decisions based on what’s best for the next seven generations, not on the bottom line of the next quarter. Sign one of the Change.org petitions that asks President Obama to permanently protect this land. John Hanno

Army Corps of Engineers Statement on Dakota Access

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers statement

Posted: Sun 4:48 PM, Dec 04, 2016

 

The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced Sunday.

Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Her office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights.

“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an approximately 1,172 mile pipeline that would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois. The pipeline is 30 inches in diameter and is projected to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of oil per day, with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels. The current proposed pipeline route would cross Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River.

Chang.org Petition Asking Pres. Obama to Return Standing Rock Land

Ask President cede to Standing Rock Sioux, A.C. land at Lake Oahe; or make it a Natl Park.

John Hanno Oak Forest, IL

 

The Dakota Access pipeline poses a catastrophic threat to Native American sacred lands and to the critical water source for more than 17 million Americans down stream of the Missouri River crossing.  We know that President Elect Trump has a serious conflict of interest by owning large investments in DAPL and other fossil fuel assets; and his energy team includes Harold Hamm, billionaire founder of Continental Resources oil company, and someone Mr. Trump might name as his Secretary of Energy. Mr. Trump and the Koch brothers said they support extractive exploitation of public lands and National Parks. President Obama must not only order the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the pipeline permits and stop the Dakota Access pipeline but we petition President Obama to cede to the Sovereign Standing Rock Sioux Nation water protectors, ownership rights to Army Corp land surrounding and including Lake Oahe and land at the pipeline crossing of the Missouri river, before he leaves office; and / or in the alternative, permanently protect this land by declaring it a National Park. After suffering centuries of persecution and exploitation, Native Americans deserve justice. This land belonged to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation Rez before it was taken back. President Elect Trump has stated he will quickly approve the Dakota Access pipeline and also reverse President Obama’s decision to deny approval of Keystone XL pipeline. We have an enormous glut of oil reserves at Cushing, Oklahoma. The clear purpose of Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines is not to make America energy independent but to reap enormous profits for greedy oil interests exporting oil to China. We must protect our environment and our oil resources. This outdated fossil fuel infrastructure is not needed and railroads serving the Bakkan North Dakota oil fields have invested heavily in improved railroad oil tank car safety and have stated that they have more than enough railroad capacity to transport the Bakkan oil. They will also be able to permanently rehire thousands of laid off North Dakota railroad workers. America must finally honor the first Americans and our first environmentalists by stopping Dakota Access. John Hanno

This petition will be delivered to:     President Obama

Exactly as said in your petition. A shitstorm is coming in Jan. unfortunately.

Gene Day, Wichita, KS     1 week ago

You have been a great champion for the environment. I trust you to do what is right in this case also. Please DO NOT LET DAPL win. Cede the land to Standing Rock Sioux or make it a National Park. This will be the crowning jewel to your environmental legacy.

Cindy Dutka, Philadelphia, PA      1 week ago

President Obama, I’m embarrassed to keep asking you to do things after all the great things you have done, but you know this would be fair. Trump still needs to learn to put the needs of our citizens ahead of his own financial interests. Help him see that!

Rita Sack, Newtown Square, PA     1 week ago

#HonorTheTreaties #HonorOurTreaties ceding the USAE land back to Standing Rock Sioux via 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie

NorthWind Stilson, Nelsonville, OH     1 week ago

It poses a threat to farmers as well as children. We all need relief from this pipeline.

morgan kanae, hanford, CA      1 week ago

This process has literally been bulldozed through the rights of people and at the eventual expense of the planet.

Allen Frechette,  Shakopee, MN      3 weeks ago

 

Letter to President Obama About Dakota Access

John Hanno response to:   http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-10-03/standing firm at standing rock why the struggle is bigger than one pipeline

October 26, 2016

Letter to President Obama Concerning Dakota Access Pipeline

Thank you Amy for shining a light. I also wrote the White House, as did many others, including many organizations with 10’s of thousands of signers. The President has heard and is listening. That’s the reason they halted Dakota Access. It’s also the reason they decided against Keystone XL. Protests by Native Americans, farmers, landowners, activists and environmental groups have slowed tar sand extraction in Canada, stopped Keystone, stopped Sandpiper and are on the front lines fighting lines 3,5, 6B and others. If we can stall DAPL through the winter, we just may stop it. Stopping a half built pipeline will be an enormous victory for Native American sovereignty and a sustainable energy future. But we must keep up the pressure and stand up in such numbers that it will make the Presidents job of rejecting Dakota Access much easier. I also received a reply from the White House. Vote on November 8th for Earth Protectors. John Hanno

 

Dear John:

Thank you for writing.  As President, my greatest responsibility is ensuring the safety of the American people, including when it comes to our Nation’s energy infrastructure.  My Administration is setting the highest possible standards for oil and gas production and transportation, and each day we are working to make sure our pursuit of energy resources does not put our communities at risk.  That work includes steps the Army has committed to taking in light of important issues raised about the Dakota Access pipeline.

I understand the risks associated with the development and transportation of fossil fuels, which is why my Administration has overhauled Federal oversight and raised the bar on safety across the board.  As part of our efforts to improve Federal permitting and review processes, we are making safe pipeline infrastructure a priority in order to help ensure the health and security of our communities and the environment.

As new energy infrastructure is developed, the Federal Government will continue working with State, local, and tribal governments—which play a central role in the siting and permitting of pipelines—to address the concerns of local communities.  One of my priorities as President is upholding an honest and respectful relationship with Native American tribes, and we have made a lot of progress in restoring ancestral lands, waters, and sacred sites over the past 8 years.  My Administration also remains committed to consulting with tribes to ensure meaningful tribal input is factored into infrastructure-related decisions across the Federal Government.  In the weeks ahead, Departments and Agencies will meet with tribal leaders across the country in a series of formal consultations on this issue.

Again, thank you for writing.  I hear you, and I am optimistic that together, we can grow our economy and create new opportunities while securing a cleaner and safer future for all our people.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

 

 

Drilling Into Underground River of Magma in Iceland

John Hanno response to:    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/blogs/iceland-taps-into-underground-river-magma-geothermal

October 26, 2016

The first thing I think of when I hear of someone drilling deep into the earth, is how many holes can we drill before we blow the whole dam world apart. It’s not like that saying when we were kids, “if you dig down deep enough, you’ll get to China.” I picture the earth being attacked from every angle, drilled left and right, on an angle and horizontally, by oil wells, fracking wells, gas wells, deep wells drilled below the bottom of the oceans, and now by someone thinking it’s a good idea to drill into the magma core of the earth and drilling into “tectonically-active regions,” which as we know are prone to earthquakes. I mean, we know what happens when one of the world’s sleeping giants we call volcanoes decides to let off steam and magma. I’m not an expert geologist or scientist but I’m a bit skeptical. I construct buildings and understand the importance of a solid foundation. I would never drill into a foundation of anything because it’s only a matter of time before the dam building will come crashing down. We have to think long and hard before we do something that isn’t reversible. I think wind and solar are better alternatives.

Depending on who’s opinion you use; “Sunlight striking Earth’s surface in just one hour, delivers enough energy to power the world’s economy for an entire year.” or “In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.” or There’s enough wind energy potential within the corridor from Texas up through Illinois to power the entire nation, if only the electrical power grid infrastructure were in place. Europe is already all in, in developing off shore wind.

Our energy department has invested in tidal research but we haven’t scratched the surface of that energy potential. Although our U.S government and military have put more than $330 million into marine energy research over the past decade, Britain and Europe have invested more than $1 billion. We need to do better. The DOE believes 20 to 30 % of America’s energy could come from wave energy. They just announced our first wave generated energy went online this week in Hawaii. The power travels by undersea cable to a military base, where it feeds into Oahu’s power grid. America’s first off shore wind farm came online recently and will produce enough power for 17,000 homes.

The main problem we have with energy today is not the solutions, it’s the political will. The will to put the enormous amount spent, drilling the earth apart and blanketing the globe in leaking pipelines, into proven alternative sustainable energy. Too many in our Congress (Republicans) are beholden to fossil fuel. Complacent lackeys who have, shirked their duty to craft comprehensive energy legislation favoring alt energy, by supporting companies trying to extract every once of fossil fuel asset before it becomes obsolete. Vote on November 8th for the environment. John Hanno