Category Archives: TRIBAL NEWS

Gov’t Says Releasing Reports On Dakota Pipeline Spill Would ‘Endanger Peoples’ Lives


 

A banner flies in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. on January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester/File Photo

Chris White

2:11 PM 04/26/2017

Releasing information about a possible Dakota Access Pipeline spill could pose a serious threat to local citizens, according to the agency responsible for approving the contentious oil project.

Army Corps of Engineers rejected a Freedom of Information request earlier this month for the assessment report on potential environmental impact of a spill, digital media group MuckRock reported Tuesday. The agency rejected the request out of concern people

“I am withholding the requested document in its entirety,” Army Corps District Council Damon Roberts told MuckRock in response to the request. “The referenced document contains information related to sensitive infrastructure that if misused could endanger peoples’ lives and property.”

Army Corps’ comments come as activists continue to push for more information about possible oil spills from the so-called DAPL.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg decided in March that the company behind the project could hide information about leak points at areas along its route. He argued the exception was necessary to prevent possible acts of vandalism in the future.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other DAPL opponents believe information disclosing the route’s leak points could bolster their arguments that the line needs further environmental studies. The project will shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from the Dakotas to parts of Illinois.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, has already “modified the pipeline workspace and route more than a hundred times in response to cultural surveys and Tribes’ concerns regarding historic and cultural resources,” Boasberg wrote, referring to the analysis that went into an environmental impact assessment the Army Corps of Engineers conducted prior to approving the line.

Law enforcement officials investigated two separate incidents in March of vandalism in Iowa and South Dakota involving holes torched in sections of the multi-billion-dollar line, which officially started shuttling oil earlier this month.

A small hole was burned into the pipe at an unguarded valve site in South Dakota, Lincoln County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Brown told reporters at the time. Nobody was arrested or punished for the sabotage effort.

Some analysts argue the vandals would have been instantly incinerated had oil been coursing through the line at the time of the torching. More than 600 demonstrators have been arrested throughout the year-long anti-DAPL protests.

Army Corps has not responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Sheriff Who Met DAPL Opponents With Brute Force Now Advising Other Law Enforcement


 

Nebraska officials are reportedly preparing for what they expect will be massive protests against the Keystone XL pipeline

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The Morton County Sheriff's Department deployed a tank and sprayed peaceful protesters with a water cannon amid sub-zero temperatures on November 20, 2016. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, made infamous for leading his department in brutal confrontations with opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is reportedly advising other law enforcement on how to deal with protesters.

In an interview with the Omaha World-Herald published Tuesday, Kirchmeier predicted that the next flashpoint will come in Nebraska over the pending construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline.

Throughout the months-long standoff in North Dakota, the sheriff’s office was repeatedly criticized for acting as a security force for pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, as well as for routinely employing an excessive use of force against demonstrators. Police in riot gear attacked the water protectors with rubber bullets, water cannons, teargas grenades, and other weapons.

In addition, military vehicles such as a BearCat and MRAPs were deployed, while protesters were monitored by helicopters and identification check-points.

Yet, Kirchmeier told the World-Herald “that several other states, including South Dakota, have asked him to relay what he learned from the Standing Rock protests, and said that eventually he expects to talk with those from Nebraska,” the newspaper reported.

Among the lessons learned, according to reporter Paul Hammel, is how the county and state both “declared emergencies so they could utilize emergency funds to buy riot gear and cover the costs of officers who came from other states, including Nebraska.”

Further, “Kirchmeier said some tactical lessons were learned in confronting protesters, but he declined to share them,” Hammel wrote.

Since Trump’s State Department issued a permit last month for the portion of the pipeline that would run from tar sands fields in Alberta, Canada to existing pipelines in Steele City, Nebraska, opponents have been ramping up legal challenges and plans for non-violence resistance.

And it seems that local law enforcement is also making preparations.

In Nebraska, Hammel reports:

Law enforcement and county officials interviewed say there have been some discussions about what might be coming, but they declined to say whether any protest-control training is underway. 

Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts, said that commenting on such security preparations would “jeopardize” those plans.  The Nebraska State Patrol is well aware of what happened in North Dakota, patrol spokesman Mike Meyer wrote in an email, and regularly trains for “contingencies” such as protests and natural disasters. 

Meyer said that recent purchases by the patrol of the sort of nonlethal devices used in crowd control—such as impact sponges and rubber-ball blast and pepper spray grenades—were not out of the ordinary, and are part of the agency’s regular equipment purchases.

Activist Jane Kleeb, who founded the organization Bold Nebraska that helped lead the original movement against KXL under former President Barack Obama, told Hammel that she is hopeful the project will not come to fruition, either because of the pending lawsuits or because it still needs approval from the Nebraskan government.

Otherwise, she said, “I think you’ll see creative, nonviolent civil disobedience if it comes to that…We’re obviously going to do everything we can to stand with landowners and the Ponca Tribe to protect their land and their legacy.”

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April 28th is the Day to Hold the Red Line! Will you join us as we hold Mother Earth’s Red Line?


climate justice, indigenous peoples rights, climate change, jobs, justice, climate

 

April 28th is the Day to Hold the Red Line!

Will you join us as we hold Mother Earth’s Red Line?


The Indigenous Environmental Network is standing on the frontline of Climate Justice with All Nations to denounce the three evils that Martin Luther King called out in his iconic Beyond Vietnam speech 50 years ago, this month. Those are Racism, Materialism, and Militarism.

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin, we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” – Dr. King, Beyond Vietnam Speech, 1967

IEN is joining forces with the Movement For Black Lives, The Majority and It Takes Roots to launch Beyond the Moment (BTM) beginning April 4th and culminating at the end of the month on April 28 & 29 in Washington D.C and across the country on May Day. 
Our communities are facing unprecedented threats from within our government, that if not stopped, will destroy the very air we breathe and lands that provide the biodiversity that all life depends on.


The Red Line is the ONE Line that Cannot be Crossed.
Resist False Solutions – Reject MaterialismMilitarism-Racism – Renew Climate Justice

On April 28th we will form a red line to defend our planet, protect our people & communities. 

“We draw a red line through the militarization of the federal budget, and the rising wars at home and abroad, and the “dig, burn, dump” extreme energy extraction economy.”

Where? In the streets of Washington DC. Details to come.

When? On April 28th, the day before the March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice, at 2PM

We hold a red line to defend our culture, sovereignty, spirituality that we have always depended on to keep our environment, families, communities in balance for the prosperity and health of the next Seven Generations.

We are joining forces with climate and social rights organizations to build a justice-based transition, a #JustTransition that supports “local, living economies” where communities and workers are in charge.  Our demands include:

  • investment in communities
  • true sustainability – not false market-based solutions
  • divestment from militarism and wars
  • ending the destructive cycle of materialism / capitalism of extreme energy extraction
  • an end to racism in all its forms

This invitation to participate provides many opportunities for everyone to contribute to Beyond the Moment. Join us as we kick off a month of mass political education, vigils and direct action to deepen our cross-movement collaboration and strategy

 

Will you hold Mother Earth’s Red Line with Indigenous, Black, Brown and

Frontline communities on April 28th?

Add your organization to the list of endorsers here:

ORGANIZATIONAL ENDORSEMENT FORM

Like our Facebook Page we’ll be sharing links and always interesting and timely stuff! 🙂
Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with more information, logistics for Hold the Red Line and the People’s Climate March as we work through all the details and get them out to you!
Most of all, Thank you for your continued support as we protect our water, lands, people and Future from the forces of militarism, capitalism/materialism, and racism.

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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  | http://www.ienearth.org/

The Challenge to the Dakota Access Pipeline Isn’t Over: Cheyenne River Sioux Take Battle to Court


Posted on Mar 25, 2017

By Emma Niles

Harold C. Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, outside a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., in late February. (Cliff Owen / AP)

The camps once occupied by self-named “water protectors” in the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) have been cleared out, but the fight against the controversial oil pipeline continues in a much different setting: the courtroom.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, often called a “silent sister” to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during the #NoDAPL battle, has gone to court. Although the oil is expected to flow any day, the tribe is resilient.

“We aren’t backing down,” Harold C. Frazier, the tribal chairman, told Truthdig.

At stake is Lake Oahe, which is sacred to the tribe and its only source of drinking water. The DAPL is set to carry oil beneath the lake. A pipeline rupture would be devastating to the tribe and numerous others in the area.

The tribe is using two legal strategies, said lawyer Tracey Zephier of Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP. She is a member of the Cheyenne River tribe.

The first lawsuit is based on treaty and environmental rights. It argues that the easement permit for construction beneath Lake Oahe was “hasty” and didn’t take tribal treaty rights into consideration.

“The federal government had this responsibility to us, and they have not upheld it,” Zephier said. The case has not yet had a hearing, but she is optimistic that the urgency of the situation will cause it to be heard sometime in April and decided by late April or early May.

The second suit is a claim filed by the tribe under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), arguing that the pipeline would infringe on its religious rights—a claim questioned by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in court last month. Boasberg denied the claim March 7.

“Had we been successful in making that argument, we could have stopped the construction of the pipeline and stopped the flow of the oil immediately,” Zephier said.

The Cheyenne River tribe is appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, according to Zephier.

But funding legal battles isn’t easy, which is why the tribe is turning to the mass of #NoDAPL activists who once pledged to fight the DAPL alongside them. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has launched a funding campaign on CrowdJustice, an online platform built to help people cover their legal costs. The tribe hopes to raise $10,000 by April 16.

“I think the election has made a lot of people recognize the value of the courts,” CrowdJustice CEO Julia Salasky told Truthdig. While her organization stays neutral on the cases it accepts, Salasky remarked that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s case is “perfect for crowdfunding.”

“This is a tribe that’s using technology to try and bring people into their issue,” Salasky said.

“We’re concentrating a lot of resources on this battle,” Zephier said, “so any little thing that could be contributed financially helps a lot.”

The fight against the DAPL at first received minimal media coverage, drawing headlines only when thousands of “water protectors,” including U.S. veterans, traveled to North Dakota to protest. Now that most of the demonstrators have left, the tribe hopes the legal battle will receive recognition.

“There’s so much happening on the legal side, even though it’s not really in the media,” Zephier said. “There’s still very much a fight.”

“We don’t have the media that Standing Rock had,” Frazier acknowledged. “The average North Dakota and South Dakota people don’t even know what’s going on.”

Local media, in particular, have made it difficult for local tribes to get their message across to other residents. The Young Turks’ Jordan Chariton, for instance, took a local North Dakota news anchor to task for biased reporting, accusing the anchor of “misinforming [his] audience.”

“The media machine,” Zephier agreed, “has been spewing inaccuracies.”

Both the federal government and mainstream media have underreported the pipeline threat by spotlighting Standing Rock. In fact, the DAPL would affect numerous tribes in the area, and an oil spill would harm tribes “all the way to the south of Mexico,” Frazier said, because Lake Oahe feeds into the Missouri River, which feeds into the Mississippi and ultimately flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

“We have as much stake up there as Standing Rock,” Frazier said. “Everybody’s been excluded. We have never been consulted, and don’t we have a lot at stake?”

He noted that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe did not receive the government’s environmental assessment report on the project until last July.

“The Nebraska tribes, they’re chomping at the bit,” he said. “There’s no mention of South Dakota or [anywhere] downstream.”

The fight has only become more difficult in the time since Donald Trump became president. Frazier charged that law enforcement began to increase the rate of arrests of water protectors once Trump took office.

Reversing President Obama’s decision at the end of his presidency to halt the pipeline construction, Trump immediately took aggressive action in favor of the DAPL. Several days into his term, Trump signed an order directing the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve” the pipeline “in an expedited manner.” His administration gave final approval to the construction in early February.

“I see a big change,” Frazier said. “I told the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs], ‘Ever since Trump’s come in here, you’ve done a 180 in attitude.’ ”

The BIA (which falls under the Department of the Interior) helped clear water protectors from #NoDAPL encampments in early February. And new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has expressed support for oil drilling on federal lands.

“In the courtroom, it’s definitely more difficult,” Zephier added. “Any other administration would not put forth some of the outrageous arguments or assertions of authority that Trump is trying to put forward.”

The tribe is determined to keep fighting, however. “By no means does anyone feel defeated,” Zephier said. “We’re in this for the long haul.”

She and Frazier hope the energy and passion of the #NoDAPL activists will translate into support for their legal campaign on CrowdJustice.

“The American government has failed us,” Frazier said, “but the American people have not.”

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Bless The Water around the World on March 22 for World Water Day


 

Join us on World Water Day

in a Global Prayer for Water
Join us as we come together to Bless The Water around the World on March 22 for World Water Day.
Gather at your local water source, or home, and place good intentions and prayers into the water. Let’s stand in solidarity with the world’s Water Protectors and take the first step towards
cleaning and restoring the world’s water because #WATERisLIFE.
Register now to listen to the free LIVE AUDIO BROADCAST at 5pm Pacific from Unify, led by Chief Phil Lane Jr.
And to watch the FREE UPLIFT FILM, ‘WATER is LIFE’, featuring
Dr. Gerald Pollack, Mayan Elder Tata Pedro, Dr. Bruce Lipton,
Uqualla Medicine Man, Vandana Shiva and Whaia Whaea.

500,000 people are getting clean water access!

Want to help us make it 1 Million?

Last year, the Bless The Water campaign helped Waterbearers get clean water filters to 8 countries, and this year they are delivering their first systems on US soil, on World Water Day March 22!

Just $50 gets clean water access to 100 people for ten years!

Dakota protesters regroup, plot resistance to other pipelines


Sat Feb 25, 2017

A man warms up by a fire in Sacred Stone camp, one of the few remaining camps protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Yang

By Terray Sylvester | CANNON BALL, N.D.

Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline who were pushed out of their protest camp this week have vowed to keep up efforts to stop the multibillion-dollar project and take the fight to other pipelines as well.

The Oceti Sakowin camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, was cleared by law enforcement on Thursday and almost 50 people, many of them Native Americans and environmental activists, were arrested.

The number of demonstrators had dwindled from the thousands who poured into the camp starting in August to oppose the pipeline that critics say threatens the water resources and sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe has said it intends to fight the pipeline in court.

The 1,170-mile (1,885 km) line, built by Energy Transfer Partners LP, will move crude from the shale oilfields of North Dakota to Illinois en route to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located.

Tonya Olsen, 46, an Ihanktonwan Sioux from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who had lived at the camp for 3-1/2 months, said she was saddened by the eviction but proud of the protesters.

She has moved to another nearby camp on Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation land, across the Cannon Ball River.

“A lot of people will take what they’ve learned from this movement and take it to another one,” Olsen said. She may join a protest if one forms against the Keystone XL pipeline near the Lower Brulé Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, she added.

Tom Goldtooth, a protest leader and executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said the demonstrators’ hearts were not defeated.

“The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning,” Goldtooth said in a statement on Thursday. “They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started.”

Many hope their fight against the project will spur similar protests targeting pipelines across the United States and Canada, particularly those routed near Native American land.

“The embers are going to be carried all over the place,” said Forest Borie, 34, a protester from Tijuana, Mexico, who spent four months in North Dakota.

“This is going to be a revolutionary year,” he added.

NEXT TARGETS

Borie wants to go next to Canada to help the Unist’ot’en Native American Tribe in their long-running opposition to pipelines in British Columbia.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company constructing the Dakota Access pipeline, is already facing pushback from a diverse base of opposition in Louisiana, where it is planning to expand its Bayou Bridge pipeline.

Other projects mentioned by protesters as possible next stops include the Sabal Trail pipeline being built to transport natural gas from eastern Alabama to central Florida, and Energy Transfer Partners’ Trans-Pecos in West Texas. Sabal Trail is a joint project of Spectra Energy Corp, NextEra Energy Inc and Duke Energy Corp.

Another protest is focused on Plains All American Pipeline’s Diamond Pipeline, which will run from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Valero Energy Corp’s Memphis refinery in Tennessee.

Anthony Gazotti, 47, from Denver, said he will stay on reservation land until he is forced out. Despite construction resuming on the Dakota pipeline, he said the protest was a success because it had raised awareness of pipeline issues nationwide.

“It’s never been about just stopping that pipeline,” he said.

June Sapiel, a 47-year-old member of the Penobscot Tribe in Penobscot, Maine, also rejected the idea that the protesters in North Dakota had failed.

“It’s waking people up,” she said in front of a friend’s yurt where she has been staying. “We’re going to go out there and just keep doing it.”

(Additional reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago and Liz Hampton in Houston; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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The Indigenous Environment Network Responds to Forced Evacuation of DAPL Resistance Camps


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Media Contacts:
Jade Begay, jade@ienearth.org, 505-699-4791
Nina Smith, nina@megaphonestrategies.com, 301-717-9006

We apologize for incorrectly identifying 7th Generation Camp as Four Bands camp and have made the correction in the text below.

CANNON BALL, N.D.— At  2 pm CT on February 22, 2017, water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp were evicted by the Army Corps of Engineers. Despite efforts from camp leaders requesting more time to clean up the camp, the Army Corp remained firm with its plans to vacate the camp. The Army Corp claims jurisdiction of the land that the camp is located on even though the land is within the unceded Fort Laramie Treaty land and territories.
Individuals who voluntarily left camp prior to 2 o’clock had the choice to take a bus to be transported to an evacuation center, or relocate to other campsites outside of the eviction zone. Water protectors remaining in the camp now face risk of arrest.
There are three other campsites in the area for water protectors to relocate to: Sacred Stone, Cheyenne River, and 7th Generation camps.
Various law enforcement jurisdictions were on site including Morton County Sheriff’s, North Dakota State Highway Patrol and the North Dakota National Guard and National Park Service Rangers. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement established a traffic checkpoint and barricade on Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation land, on Highway 1806, to the south of the Cannonball River bridge.
The following is a statement by Tom Goldtooth, the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network:
“We are appalled by today’s forced evacuations of indigenous people at the Camp at Standing Rock, they are a violent and unnecessary infringement on the constitutional right of water protectors to peacefully protest and exercise their freedom of speech. It hinders the camp cleanup process and creates confusion and chaos that puts the Missouri River at risk of pollution from construction and camping debris.
“Today’s expulsion is a continuation of a centuries old practice, where the U.S. Government forcefully removes Indigenous people from our lands and territories. We urge supporters of the water protectors to continue to resist this travesty by organizing mass mobilizations, distributed actions, speaking out against the violations of the Treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation, and continuing to source up the capacity for litigation and grassroots organizing against the Dakota Access pipeline.
“Our hearts are not defeated. The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning. They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started. It burns within each of us. We will rise, we will resist, and we will thrive. We are sending loving thoughts to the water protectors along the banks of the Cannonball River, today. May everyone be as safe as can be. #noDAPL”

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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  | http://www.ienearth.org/

Tuesday February 7, the US Army Corps gave notice of intent to grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline


Rise With Standing Rock and Indigenous Resistance

Yesterday, Tuesday February 7, the US Army Corps gave notice of intent to grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Mni Sose (Missouri River). 

They are skipping the Environmental Impact Study ordered in December, and skipping the congressional notification period required by law to push through a destructive, exploitative and illegal pipeline. We knew these attacks on frontline communities were coming and now more than ever we must #GrowTheResistance and take bold action. We stand united with Indigenous Peoples and water protectors.

It Takes Roots (a formation of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Climate Justice Alliance and the Right To The City Alliance) is calling for all our member groups and communities to rise up TODAY FEBRUARY 8th in solidarity with the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock’s worldwide call for emergency actions “to disrupt business as usual and unleash a global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism.  Connect with other struggles.  Think long-term movement building.  We are in this for the long haul.” 
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said
“Donald Trump will not build his Dakota Access Pipeline without a fight. The granting of an easement, without any environmental review or tribal consultation, is not the end of this fight — it is the new beginning. Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far.
“The granting of this easement goes against protocol, it goes against legal process, it disregards more than 100,000 comments already submitted as part of the not-yet-completed environmental review process — all for the sake of Donald Trump’s billionaire big oil cronies. And, it goes against the treaty rights of the entire Seven Councils Fires of the Sioux Nations.”
Check out the call below and take action!

WORLDWIDE CALL TO ACTION FEB. 8

We are calling for emergency actions all over the world. PLEASE, THIS IS OUR LAST STAND.
Please visit everydayofaction.org to find or register an action wherever you are. Check out our world action map  to join the mass distributed actions TODAY, February 8th. 

ACTION PLANNING TIPS

We encourage groups across the globe to connect our prayers for the water with other fights against fascism and the domination of people and Mother Earth (deportations, muslim ban, attacks on labor, deregulation of wall street, other fossil fuel projects, censorship of the press and academia, etc).
Choose the target that is most strategic for building long-term collaborative resistance in your local area.  Potential targets may include:  city halls, federal buildings, army corps offices, ICE detention centers, banks profiting off DAPL, sheriff’s offices that have come to Standing Rock, labor union offices, sites of workplace struggle, etc.
MESSAGING – please amplify and use the messaging put out here by

  • Rise with Standing Rock….against violations of sovereignty, crimes against Mother Earth, fascism, violation of law, etc.
  • Continue to elevate what’s happening on the ground in ND — demonstrate that this is something serious that resonates to all peoples in the face of Trump administration tyranny. Follow: @IENEarth on twitter and facebook.
  • Support Tribes’ request for TRO (Temporary Restraining Order)/injunction!
  • Resist Trump’s direct attack against indigenous communities with his executive orders re: DAPL & KXL. Indigenous communities are not backing down.
  • Police violence seems inevitable and mass casualties are very likely. The only way to keep people safe is to do the Environmental Impact Study.  If not, any blood spilled is on Trump’s hands and the hands of the Corps.   

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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  | http://www.ienearth.org/

Global Coalition Stages Protests and Bank Closures Across Mother Earth to Defund Dakota Access Pipeline


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2017

CONTACT:
For inquiries to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, contact Nick Pelosi, Director Corporate Engagement, First Peoples Worldwide, standingrockdapl@gmail.com, 540-899-6545

For inquiries to the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock, contact Tara Houska, National Campaign Director, Honor the Earth, tara@honortheearth.org, 612-226-9404

For inquiries about the week of action and event logistics contact Vanessa Green, Individual Campaign Director, DivestInvest, vanessa@divestinvest.org, 617-230-8942

Global Coalition Stages Protests and Bank Closures Across Mother Earth to Defund Dakota Access Pipeline

While Trump, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics race to complete the pipeline, over 700,000 people representing over $2.3 billion in personal investments say no.

New York, Madrid, Munich, San Francisco, Tokyo, Amsterdam – On January 24th, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum fast tracking the Dakota Access Pipeline and environmental reviews of other projects. The corporations behind DAPL made it clear that they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.”

There are three ways banks can be involved in the financing of DAPL: extending lines of credit to companies with ownership stakes, being directly invested in project sponsor companies (owning assets or shares), or providing project loan funds.

The completion of DAPL is critically dependent on those 17 banks that are jointly providing the project loan for the construction of the pipeline. All of them are facing massive protest against their involvement. Several banks in the consortium have now also openly criticised the project sponsors for not being sufficiently responsive to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The pressure to terminate their involvement in the project has been increasing further over the last few weeks as hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are signing petitions to DAPL banks. Thousands more have already closed their accounts and defunded over $55 million and counting. This week, activists are showing up in person to make their voices heard on behalf of another 700,000+ people worldwide, a percentage of whom voluntarily report having over $2.3 billion invested in these banks through checking, mortgage, and credit card accounts – which they are ready to divest if the banks continue financing DAPL.

From January 30 to February 3, various events took place in cities around the world to deliver copies of the petitions and signatures to local branches and global headquarters of the 17 banks directly funding the construction of the DAPL: Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, BayernLB, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, DNB ASA, ICBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, SMBC, Société Générale, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, TD Bank, Wells Fargo. A full list of ongoing #NoDAPL 2017 actions is here.

The Sacred Stone Camp and their allies have vowed to stand their ground as long as DAPL construction equipment remains on Oceti Sakowin treaty land. The global coalition plans to continue pressure on all banks funding fossils throughout 2017.

In support of these actions, leaders from the movements to stop DAPL said the following:

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In the Ground Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network, said: “President Trump wishes to fast-track the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, against federal law and tribal treaty rights. Indigenous nations and communities will not be the sacrifice zones for President Trump’s fossil fuel regime. We remain steadfast in our defense of our inherent rights and the protection of Mother Earth and we implore our allies to stand with us. We must remind the investors of this pipeline that they, via their financing, are threatening the lives of water protectors and it’s time to be held accountable for that.”

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said: “By attempting to fast track DAPL, President Trump has made it clear that his priorities lie with his wealthy contributors rather than the public interest. Banks now have an opportunity to take a stand against this reckless assault on our treaty rights and water, or be complicit and continue to lose millions.”

Judith LeBlanc, Director, Native Organizers Alliance and member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma, said: “The decision to build the Dakota Access Pipeline was made in the halls of power by a handful representing banks and corporations willing to sacrifice Mother Earth for profit. The decision to stop it will be made by the many, all across the world, who know that Mother Earth and water give us life. Time is now for investors to also stand for Mother Earth. We started at Standing Rock, now Standing Rock is everywhere.”

Chase Iron Eyes, lead attorney, Lakota People’s Law Project, said: “It’s inspiring to see the power of global currency being leveraged in the frontline movement at Standing Rock. Separate fights — defending clean drinking water, upholding constitutional freedoms, creating a new energy economy — are becoming one as people recognize and respond to the problem of banks using their money to finance human rights violations and brutality. If money rules the day then we will bring compassion to our capital by divesting.”

Angus Wong, Campaign Manager, SumOfUs: “Trump’s green light of the destructive Dakota Pipeline is a corporate scheme to enrich himself and his corporate friends. But we know targeting banks to stop financing this dangerous pipeline works — two days after we delivered hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs members’ signatures to Norway-based DNB bank headquarters in November, it pulled its assets in the pipeline. We hope DNB will again demonstrate leadership by committing to withdraw its project funding.”
Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth US, said: “The voices of Indigenous peoples have been ignored for too long – by the US government, corporations and big banks. By not acknowledging Indigenous peoples, these banks are perpetuating a pattern of colonialism and failing to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”

Vanessa Green, Director of DivestInvest Individual, said: “DAPL is simply the wrong kind of investment, and people don’t want their money behind it. With government mandates to scale up clean energy investments, a market increasingly supportive of a low carbon future, and unprecedented consumer and investor interest in moving money into climate and community solutions, the question now is which banks will lose the most in this historic energy transition.”

Mary Sweeters, Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said: “People across the world have pledged their solidarity with the Indigenous communities who reject this dirty pipeline and the threat it poses to the water and climate. The banks must choose whether they want to continue to invest their money in yesterday or listen to the millions of people who stand with Standing Rock.”

Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-director of Green America, said: “Now more than ever we need to move away from destructive fossil fuel pipelines and pursue a clean energy future. Indigenous communities are demonstrating heroic leadership by protecting water, the source of life, from the dangers of pipelines. We call on the government and banks to halt support for the Dakota Access Pipeline immediately.”
Kristen Perry, Climate Justice Montreal Organizer, said: “We need to stop funding projects which endanger water, land, and our communities, and instead follow the lead of defenders calling for direct action and support. It is crucial that we center justice for communities on the frontline of the crisis and the forefront of solutions, and pushing for divestment and the defunding of destructive projects is a tangible way for us to take action in solidarity with Indigenous communities across colonial borders.”
Yago Martínez from Ecologistas en Acción, said: “DAPL is not only a clear violation of Indigenous people’s rights but also a major climate threat. We believe in the importance of international solidarity to achieve goals leading to global and climatic justice, and therefore we cannot fail to stand with Standing Rock. We must raise our voices. Banks from all over the world are involved in this destructive project and they must be held accountable.”

Ruth Breech, Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network, said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is a morally and financially bankrupt project. If banks value Indigenous rights and free, prior and informed consent, they will leave this project immediately. We don’t need another pipeline. We need financial institutions that are willing to take a stand and do the right thing-divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Leila Salazar López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch, said: “Indigenous peoples across the Americas, from Standing Rock to the Amazon, have for years been standing up against the destructive, racist practices of the fossil fuel industry. The number of people withdrawing their money from the banks supporting the Dakota Access pipeline is a clear signal to those banks that destructive fossil fuel projects are a bad financial, social, and environmental investment.”

Regine Richter of the German organization urgewald, said: “European banks involved in financing DAPL might think they are far enough away and can get off the hook from the protests. But here as well people are enthusiastic to stand with Standing Rock and protest against the loan, as we do this week at BayernLB.”
Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved on how they let environmental, social and human impacts weigh in when considering finance for a particular project. In this case, the ongoing violation of the rights of the Sioux Tribe leave them no other option but to withdraw from the project.”

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NODAPL, Water is life, Indigenous Rising

The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Find out more at: www.ienearth.org

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