Dozens of Dakota Access pipeline protesters arrested in N. Dakota and Iowa
Protests are growing against the construction of an oil pipeline connecting the Bakken Oil fields on the northern U.S. border to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
Eight people were arrested near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation this week, and another 30 in Iowa.
In North Dakota, protesters stopped construction Wednesday at an active work site a few miles from camps where about 4000 people have reportedly gathered in opposition to the four-state pipeline project.
“We’re here to protect the water for our children, for our future,” said Happy American Horse, Jr. who had locked himself down to an excavator. By the end of the day, police arrested American Horse, Jr. along with seven others.
The protest began in April, when members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe set up a prayer camp near one proposed construction site; the 3.7 billion dollar, 1200 mile-long pipeline would cross the Missouri River within a mile of their reservation. They say the project endangers their water supply and the sanctity of their sacred lands.
When work started in early August, thousands flocked to the camp and representatives from nearly a hundred native nations across the country brought their flags as a show of solidarity. Energy Transfer Partners, developers of the controversial project, temporarily suspended work at the site closest to the protests.
But work continues elsewhere in the area, as well as in South Dakota, Illinois and Iowa – where police arrested dozens of pipeline opponents this week.
“I think this is the most urgent thing Iowans, and people in our country and around the planet, need to be doing,” Miriam Kashia told the Des Moines Register, explaining why she was willing to risk arrest outside a pipeline construction staging area in the city of Boone. “We need to stop, and get to a clean energy future now.”
The United Nations weighed in this week, calling for the U.S. government to honor the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and provide the Sioux a role in the decision-making process.
The Standing Rock Sioux have petitioned the D.C. District Court for an injunction halting the pipeline construction. They say the project was fast-tracked by the federal government in violation of their sovereign treaty rights and are seeking a thorough environmental review. A decision is due September 9.