by Michael Bennett Cohn for Newsweek
On January 24, President Donald Trump signed an order that makes it easier for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to complete its controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota.
Trump also issued a memorandum clearing the way for the Keystone XL pipeline, which has also been controversial. Keystone XL would run from Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, transporting oil from the oil sands of Alberta. Many environmentalists fear this pipeline could leak chemicals into the groundwater and the Athabasca River.
“…a spit in the face to all Americans…”
Later that day, Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, issued a formal request for the president to “provide federal law enforcement resources to assist in upholding the law and protecting people and property rights as the [DAPL] project moves toward completion under Lake Oahe.”
The vast social media network of anti-DAPL activists, known as water protectors, was instantly abuzz with angry messages and discussions about how to respond. Many asked if they should return to the camps near Bismarck that have been base for anti-DAPL resistance activities since last spring. Since winter set in, the population of the camps decreased greatly, in part because there is no running water, and the only electricity comes from portable generators and solar panels. Some protectors also left the camps in December in reaction to the Department of the Army’s announcement that it would not grant an easement allowing the pipeline to be built without an environmental impact statement.
Returning to Standing Rock was the immediate response for some. Chase Iron Eyes, a high-profile water protector who is a longtime activist and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, posted a widely shared message on his Facebook page January 24: “Fighters, brothers and sisters. Come. Heed the call to defend this country against all enemies, foreign & domestic. We shall find out who loves this land, who is loyal to the water and who is a traitor to this land, to our water.”
Manape Hocini Ga, a headsman for Oceti Sakowin (the ‘Seven Fires Council’ that is part of traditional Sioux law and governance), told Newsweek Trump’s orders are “a spit in the face to all Americans.”
Read the full article at Newsweek