When you believe in your prayers, pipelines end

Listening to a discussion among indigenous women recently I heard “I believe in my prayers.” That made me realize there have been times when I did not believe in my prayers. I’m paying attention to that now. I have no doubt that believing in my prayers, and the prayers of so many of my friends who worked for so long, contributed to the almost overwhelming news of setbacks for several pipelines in just the last few days. This might not be the final word on some of these pipelines, but is feels like such a release of internal tensions so many of us have lived with for so long.

The Atlantic Coast pipeline, that would have crossed the Appalachian Trail, will not be built because of delays and costs. The Keystone XL pipeline is not completely built, and if Biden is elected that should be the end of Keystone. Perhaps the most surprising is the news that permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline have been vacated, and the pipeline must shut down, and oil removed within 30 days.

(BILLINGS, Mont.) — The U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada on Monday by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project.

Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams. Without it, the project that has been heavily promoted by President Donald Trump faces more delay just as work on it had finally begun this year following years of courtroom battles.

Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Blocking Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline by Matthew Brown, Time, July 6, 2020

I have great news: this morning, District Court Judge James Boasberg ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be shut down within 30 days! In this momentous ruling, Judge Boasberg found that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of Energy Transfer’s crude oil pipeline, and that there were too many safety concerns to allow its continued operation. While this order only shuts DAPL down for 13 months while the Army Corps completes additional environmental assessments and safety planning, there is a good chance that when the oil is drained in 30 days, that oil will never flow again! 

We commend the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and their legal team at EarthJustice for years of dedication and persistence in this struggle to defang the Black Snake. And we are proud of the amicus brief that our legal team submitted in the lead up to this decision. We’re also elated that Judge Boasberg cited many of the questions we and our allies have raised since the beginning of the NoDAPL struggle. First, that it’s simply wrong to conduct an environmental assessment of a pipeline after it’s already been built. Second, that DAPL’s leak detection abilities are so poor it could be leaking more than 6,000 barrels of oil every day without detection, and Energy Transfer’s abysmal pipeline safety record raises that risk even further. Third, that there is no proper cleanup plan for a wintertime spill, when freezing Dakota winters make response the most difficult. Boasberg even went one step further, concluding that the drop in oil demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic makes shutting down the pipeline now less harmful to North Dakota’s economy.

So what comes next? First, Energy Transfer has to drain and shut down DAPL by August 6th. The Army Corps of Engineers then has 13 months to further study potential pipeline leaks and the dangers they pose. This ruling could still be appealed in the Federal District Court of D.C., but our analysis tells us that such an appeal is unlikely to succeed. 

Thank you to each and every one of you for your tireless support, and for staying with us throughout this journey.

Wopila tanka — Thank you for standing with us to protect our water, our land, and our families!

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

P.S. This has truly been a week of good news: just yesterday the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, slated to run from West Virginia to North Carolina, was canceled. In a joint statement, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cited ongoing delays, expected cost increases, and legal challenges from environmental and other groups as threats to the project’s viability. The trend away from fossil fuels is becoming stronger with each passing day, thanks to your activism and the support of so many others like you. 

Monday, July 6, 2020, 11:30 a.m. CDT
Contact Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Bold Iowa Responds to Court Shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline
Group will urge Iowa Utilities Board to reconsider approval of expansion

DES MOINES, IOWA – In response to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit and a federal judge ordering the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) effective August 5, 2020, Bold Iowa is calling on the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to reconsider its decision to allow Energy Transfer (ET) to double the flow of oil through DAPL. ET’s proposal has been approved by regulators in Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota, but not yet by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

If the shutdown proceeds as scheduled, no oil will flow through Iowa during what many believe will be a lengthy environmental review by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“This ruling is a huge victory for the coalition of Indigenous communities, landowners, farmers, and environmentalists who have fought this pipeline for six years,” said Ed Fallon, a former state representative who founded Bold Iowa and serves as the organization’s director. “One of our primary goals now is to make sure that the Corps’ review is comprehensive and that it examines DAPL’s impact on water, land, property rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and most urgently on the worsening climate crisis.”

Fallon indicated that his organization is preparing a letter to IUB president, Geri Huser, asking her to reconsider the Board’s recent approval of ET’s proposal to double the flow of oil through the pipeline.

Bold Iowa was founded in 2015 to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline. Bold’s e-mail list is just under 8,000 people, and its stated mission is to (1) build rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, (2) prevent the abuse of eminent domain, (3) protect Iowa’s soil, air, and water, (4) defend the rights of farmers, landowners, and Indigenous communities, and (5) promote non-industrial renewable energy.

This entry was posted in First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, Indigenous, Seeding Sovereignty, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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