Opposition to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline continues.
A group of US military veterans are promising to return to Standing Rock after local law enforcement raided a newly created resistance camp and arrested 76 water protectors.
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They have vowed to block completion of the disputed Dakota Access pipeline, despite the secretary of the Army giving the project the green light.
Cannonball, North Dakota – Morton County Sheriff’s arrested 76 water protectors on Wednesday after the opponents of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline crossed onto private property to create a new camp. The “Last Child Camp” was launched on the top of a hill and marked by seven tepees representing seven tribes. The new camp was around a quarter mile from the Oceti Sakowin Camp, just north of the Cannonball River. The Sacred Stone Spirit Camp and Rosebud Camp are located south of the river.
The Last Child Camp was created by activists as an attempt to build a camp that represents the original peaceful and prayerful intentions of the Sacred Stone and Oceti camps.
“We want to make it more spiritual, we want to make it a difference from the old Oceti. We want to call this camp the Last Child Camp,” protester Rance Sneed told KFYR.
Once law enforcement realized the protectors were setting up a new camp they came in force and raided the area before structures could be fully erected. The officers came up the hill and made 76 arrests. Some protectors were charged with misdemeanor trespassing and others were charged with class C felony inciting a riot charges, including former Democratic Congressional Candidate Chase Iron Eyes.
Chase Iron Eyes called on water protectors and supporters to continue the fight against the DAPL, sometimes known as “The Black Snake” to critics.
Jenni Monet, a journalist with the Center for Investigative Journalism, was also among the 76 arrested, highlighting the continued attack on journalists covering resistance to the pipeline.
Following the arrests, a new group of veterans has promised to support and defend water protectors against any police violence. “We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch,” said Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand. Diggs told CNBC his group is trying to raise enough funds “to have a larger, solid boots-on-the-ground presence.”
“In the past two weeks the turmoil and uncertainty at #StandingRock has increased significantly. We have continued to stay in contact with indigenous and camp leadership and have identified several areas where the Veterans Stand network can continue to serve the needs of the local community. We are launching this second GoFundMe to create a Standing Rock Fund to address the ongoing needs at Standing Rock and our partners in camp,” the Veterans crowdfunding campaign reads.
The arrests come after police entered the Oceti Sakowin camps for the first time since the camps launched in summer 2016. Video posted on social media on Thursday also showed police and officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs enter the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp for the first time. Meanwhile, only weeks ago the Standing Rock Sioux tribe voted to close down the camps due to flood risks. However, that sentiment may be changing now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to flout its responsibility to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
On Tuesday, two North Dakota officials stated that the secretary of the Army instructed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement it needs finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. The easement is slated to go under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The easement has been the center of resistance and conflict since last summer.
North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer said the decision would allow ETP to complete the project. As I predicted on January 23, President Donald Trump signed executive actions to advance construction . I didn’t make this prediction with a crystal ball, I simply paid attention to the words of Kevin Cramer, a friend of big oil and Trump’s adviser on energy. It was fairly obvious that Trump would support the DAPL. However, on Wednesday the Army disputed the claim that final approval for the project had been granted. The Washington Post reported that Malcolm Frost, chief of public affairs for the Army, said the Army “has initiated the steps” outlined in the Jan. 24 presidential directive which directs the acting secretary of the Army to “expeditiously review” the Dakota Access Pipeline permits, but this does “not mean the easement has been approved.”
In response to the statements from Cramer and Hoeven, the Standing Rock Sioux said they would launch a legal challenge if the Corps attempts to issue the easement without conducting the environmental impact study. The Standing Rock Sioux said abandoning the study “would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the president’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments.”
With the possibility of violence returning some water protectors worry that the shutting down of the camps is part of a larger push toward friendly relations with the oil industry under the newly inaugurated President Trump. The camps have been plagued with violence from police as they attempt to stop the construction of the controversial DAPL. What will the future of DAPL resistance look like?
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