Less than one week into office, Donald Trump has signed an executive order approving of construction with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Everyone’s favorite “anti-establishment” president signed two executive orders on Tuesday which will allow construction on the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines to continue. President Trump took the actions on Tuesday in an attempt to keep his promises to “make America great again” by attempting to increase domestic energy production via oil pipelines.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been opposed by environmental activists for seven years, while the Dakota Access pipeline by Native American tribes since April 2016. The Obama Administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline in November 2015. The DAPL was also recently denied a permit for construction on the final portion of the pipeline which goes under Lake Oahe.
“President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process,” Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said. “Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream.”
Meanwhile, the North Dakota Petroleum Council, the trade group for the state’s oil producers, called the move “a great step forward for energy security in America.” It should be noted that President Trump owned stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the majority owner of the pipeline, until mid-2016. Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for U.S. Energy Secretary also sat on the board of ETP until late 2016.
In early December, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for ETP to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Following the Corps’ decision, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, stated that alternate routes will be considered based on a new environmental impact statement (EIS) that will include input from the public and the tribe.
Trump’s executive order comes only one week after U.S. District Court Judge James Boesberg denied DAPL attorneys’ attempt to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from conducting the EIS on the Lake Oahe crossing. The Army Corps of Engineers also officially published a notice of intent in the federal register to prepare a partial EIS.
As Anti-Media reported last week, violence returned to Standing Rock beginning on the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, social media accounts connected to the fight against the DAPL and in support of the Sioux posted several videos showing law enforcement using tear gas and rubber bullets on water protectors who attempted to set up a tipi on Backwater bridge off Highway 1806. Social media reports said law enforcement grabbed an “unknown amount of water protectors.” Backwater Bridge was the site of conflict throughout the months of October and November.
This violence led, in part, to the unanimous vote from the Standing Rock Sioux tribal government to forcibly evacuate the remaining camps near the Cannonball River. According to Indian Country Media Network:
In a unanimous vote, Standing Rock Sioux tribal council members voted to close the network of encampments behind the Dakota Access Pipeline protests within 30 days, including the main Oceti Sakowin, Rosebud, and Sacred Stone camps. Council members also voted against providing any temporary camps or shelters to individuals who should remain at the camps after the February 19 deadline. The decision was made in an emergency meeting held on Friday, January 20 at the tribe’s headquarters in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
At the council meeting, JoBeth Brown Otter said she was shocked by the recent behavior she had seen at the camps, including the use of drugs and alcohol, mistreatment of elders, and physical assaults on law enforcement. “We have got to get back to square one. This movement has lost the spirituality that it once had,” Otter told the council.
Now that Trump has issued executive orders calling for completion of these pipelines it is likely that the remaining water protectors will face further conflict with law enforcement. This is the time for all water protectors who formerly supported the camps to return en masse. It’s going to take a lot of land defenders and water protectors to stop the completion of these pipelines. And to those who believe that the pipelines will increase domestic strength – you are being duped.
The expected oil products are already being sold to foreign nations, they will not increase American independence. Even if the pipelines did increase jobs (they won’t) or “Make America Great Again,” is it worth the cost? If Trump wants to make this a land of economic growth he should abandon unsustainable fuel sources and end government interference and regulation of alternative energy sources. Unfortunately, it seems like we are in for four more years of “hope” and “change.”
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2