Tuesday, December 06, 2016

#DAPL: It ain't over

Sorry about raining on the victory parade.

It helps in understanding the next move in what is now a waiting game if you distill it down to this: America is an oil company with two standing armies; one foreign and one domestic.  The national one is the legion of police from around the country who are on the scene, earning overtime and travel perks while they spray water cannon in freezing temperatures on people, blow up a woman's arm with a grenade, and bring associated hell on the protestors at Standing Rock.  It's a wide-open window into our police state.

Police departments from 24 counties and 16 cities in 10 different states (including North Dakota) have poured into Standing Rock, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department, the local law enforcement agency.


Per DeSmog Blog, Standing Rock is one of the few times that EMAC (the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, see the very first link for more) has been called upon to respond to social activism. In April 2015, during Black Lives Matter protests in Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and sent out an EMAC request. About 300 state troopers from Pennsylvania and another 150 from New Jersey responded. The city racked up an estimated $20 million in extra policing costs.


The increased law enforcement presence at Standing Rock has coincided with mounting concerns over police brutality. The deployment of military-grade equipment, including land-mine-resistant trucks and armored personnel carriers, as well as the use of pepper spray, rubber bullets, and alleged strip searches led Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II to ask the Justice Department to investigate civil rights abuses. [...] Some of the police details that have arrived in Standing Rock are among the largest recipients of military transfers from the federal government, according to an In These Times investigation. The South Dakota Highway Patrol has received $2 million worth of military equipment since 2006. The Lake County Sheriff's Office in Northwest Indiana obtained $1.5 million worth of military equipment over the same time period. The Pennington County Sheriff's office in South Dakota, the Anoka County Sheriff's office in Minnesota, and the Griffith Indiana Police Department have all received assault rifles through military equipment transfer programs as well.

Much more at the article, which concludes with how communities are beginning to push back against these abuses of authority and blank checks from taxpayers for their local peace officers (*coughBScough*) to go on a mayhem vacation.

Now then, on to the generals politicians directing this assault, one of whom is ND Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.  Bold emphasis mine:

“It’s long past time that a decision is made on the easement going under Lake Oahe. This administration’s delay in taking action -- after I’ve pushed the White House, Army Corps, and other federal agencies for months to make a decision -- means that today’s move doesn’t actually bring finality to the project. The pipeline still remains in limbo. The incoming administration already stated its support for the project and the courts have already stated twice that it appeared the Corps followed the required process in considering the permit. For the next month and a half, nothing about this project will change. For the immediate future, the safety of residents, protesters, law enforcement, and workers remains my top priority as it should for everyone involved. As some of the protesters have become increasingly violent and unlawful (sic; notice the conflicting accounts about fires being set, and associated water cannon usage) and as North Dakota’s winter has already arrived – with a blizzard raging last week through the area where protesters are located -- I’m hoping now that protesters will act responsibly to avoid endangering their health and safety, and move off of the Corps land north of the Cannonball River.”

Read only the first bullet point in this lengthy piece for more about the violence and tactics used by authorities.  Heitkamp, a very conservative Democrat, was referenced in this post last week as she interviewed for a job in the Trump administration.  If she remains in the Senate, my prediction is that she will change parties in order to hold her seat in 2018.  Trump, as you may already know, supports DAPL and may own stock (Bloomberg says so, but Snopes says 'unproven' -- Update: Confirmed just after post time, he's sold out) in Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company owned by Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren, who's donated heavily to Trump and other Republicans, specifically Texan ones, in this cycle.  I wonder if any of this came up in Trump's conversation with Al Gore yesterday.

Two more things:  Activists contend that ETP will dig the pipeline under the Missouri River and just pay the fines, and ETP says they will see the project through to completion (a necessary assurance for stock- and stakeholders).  And if you want to see how corporate media reports this story, read this.  Either way the pipeline will happen, even if it has to wait for Trump to be inaugurated in six weeks.

Despite the celebrations taking place at the site of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), experts say the recent decision to stop the pipeline could be reversed by the Trump administration or the next Congress. "Legally, this is an action that can be overturned easily," says Sharon Buccino, an attorney and director of the Land and Wildlife program at the National Resources Defense Council.


(A)ccording to Deborah Sivas, a professor of environmental law at Stanford University, there are multiple ways the pipeline might still be completed legally in its current location. The Republican-led Congress could vote to clear the way for ETP to drill under the Missouri River by passing an appropriations rider. Then the company would no longer need an easement from the Army Corps to comply with the Clean Water Act, and could thus complete the pipeline. "Trump could sign off on it in week one," Sivas says. "All it takes is one sentence."

Or Trump could go a slightly more patient route and still achieve the same result.

Alternatively, according to Buccino, Congress could exclude public input from the environmental impact statement ordered by the Army Corps, excluding Standing Rock Sioux tribal members from participating and thereby sidestepping complaints that the project desecrates sacred burial sites. Such actions would likely be subject to public criticism, she acknowledges. Buccino also points out that Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army Corps official who made the announcement, was appointed by President Barack Obama and will leave her position in January. Donald Trump and his administration officials could exert pressure and guidance on the Army Corps' commanders to reverse their decision.

A battle was won, but the war is still lost.


Unknown said...

Please don't take this defeatist tone. The battle is lost and the war is increasingly difficult and ongoing...not lost. As leftists we must remember there are plenty of examples of successful mobilization and physical resistance against fascist forces.

PDiddie said...

True enough, Matthew.