🇺🇸 Are activists winning the battle against US pipelines? | The Stream

published on July 13, 2020

Hey there welcome to the streami'm josh rushing and you are in my hometodayuh we're talking about what's feels likea major shift in the movementto stop pipelines in the us uh

Particularly with native americansresistingthose pipelines and uh they've had quitea few successes recently nowhey look we're live on youtube and i'mhoping you're going to join us in that

Youtubechat over there so that i can get someof your discussions induring the show um let's go right to theissue you know in the us right nowyou've got about 9

000 miles a pipeline with another 12500 miles already kind of announced orin the approval processso that comes out to what 21 22 000miles of pipeline just to give youa sense of what that means the earth at

Its circumferenceis about 25 000 miles around so we'retalking about being able to goall the way around the planet just inthe pipelines here in the usthey are often uh problematic

Particularly environmentally speakingand so there has been a resistance andthey often go acrossnative lands and so that resistance hasbeen led bythe nations here in the us now some of

The decisions that have come down justrecently a judge set down the dakotaaccess pipelinenow you might remember this one becauseit had the big battle at standing rockmy colleagues at fault lines were out

There for that battle and here's whatsome of that looked likethen i got to notice that dakota accesswas going to start working in 48 hoursso i pulled up my iphone and did a smallvideo

Asking people to come help i'm askingeach of youto come stand with us at sacred stonecampgradually more and more tribes began toshow up and the camp started to grow

As the pipeline started making its waytowards the riveras opposition grew things came to a headon september thirdall the women and children were alongthe line crying they had just got

Through pepper spraying everybodyand i remember standing there thinkingwhere am i is this americathat was four years ago that was 2016uh but just last week a judge shut downthat

Pipeline at least for now another hugepipeline in the us coming from canadagoing down toward nebraska is thekeystone xl pipelinealso shut down by a judge in the lastweek

And then a third pipeline the atlanticcoast pipelinenow this one was going to come acrossthe appalachians and go into virginiadelivering natural gas looks like thebackers of that one have backed out as

The resistance to it has raised thethe cost of it uh initial cost estimatesthey were going to be about 5 billionand now they're looking through delaysat being about 8 billionand they're just deciding it may not be

Worth their time anymoreall this is said against the backdrop ofany energy pricescrashing i mean they were going downbefore covid but during covey theyactually reached a point where

Oil in the us was at a negative valuemeaning they would pay people to takethe oilto store it so the big question hereis in this time of pandemic with theserulings in their favor

Is this a tipping point kind of momentand i'm going to addone more spark to the flame here alandmark ruling came out of the ussupreme courtlast week magritte versus oklahoma where

The supreme courtacknowledged that the native americantribesactually do own about 40 percent ofoklahomathey do control it and they have

Sovereign control over that areait is a landmark rulingthat will have significant outcome formaybe generations to come um i'd like tobounce from hereto bringing in our guests like this is

The heart of the conversationi ask everyone to introduce themselvesjacqueline's joining us from portlandoregon this morning can can youuh can you tell our audience who you areyeah i am jaclyn keeler and i am the

Editor-in-chief of pollination magazineit's a news magazine that it has anall-native womanjournalist at editorial board and uh andyeah and i've been covering this issueof standing rock as a journalist um well

Reallypipeline since 2014 when i was coveringthe keystone xl pipeline as welland so um yeah and that's i'm based inportland oregon um i ama citizen of the navajo nation and

I am uh my father is yanked and sueand so i have relatives in both uhum in both areas sowow thanks jacqueline all right uh donnait's part of the lumpy tribe joining usfrom north carolina can you give us a

Bit of an introduction yes good morningand it's so good to be with youuh i am donna chavis i'm a lumbee elderuh here in the east i'm in pembrokenorth carolina which is theancestral home for the lumbee i am a

Founder ofthe red tail hawk collective which is agroup of academicsas well as organizers who work towardsuh inmaking sure that indigenous indigenous

Voices are heardin the efforts to stop these pipelinesespecially since they're comingacross so many of our lands and i alsoserveas the senior fossil fuel campaigner

With friends of the earthuh so we bring together the uh on theground work as well as theallied behaviors from uh environmentalgroups that can help us bring thisuh to a stop and we're very happy to be

Celebrating the end of the atlanticcoast pipelineoh yeah i bet being on the east coast uhi'm gonna move to joy and i gotta givejoy a special shout out here shefound out maybe 20 minutes ago that she

Was going to do this for usuh standing in for another guest who hada family emergencyso uh thank you so much for joining uslastminute and to our good fortune i mean uh

Joey you you were there on day one ofthe the battle of standing rock rightyeah i was the first camper at standingrock umhoneywell d good morning my name is joybraun i'm a member of the cheyenne river

Sioux tribe i'm the nokia xl andno dapple organizer for indigenousenvironmental networkso yeah good morning hey good morningthanks for joining usnow look our audience we have a really

Large international audience umand it might be a little confusing whenwe're talking about sovereignty issuesand andnations within a nation jacqueline canyou just explain that

Kind of the top line of that for for ouraudienceyeah um i think that uh what a lot ofpeople don't realizeis that native nations are sovereignuh and they have been sovereign before

The existence of the united states infactsome of the first treaties that theunited states signed the first with withother nations were withnative nations and so we were the first

To recognize the sovereignty of theunited states well some some tribes didum and my husband was is he's a directorof chief joseph brown whofought against uh the the americancolonies and

And and uh but the um but yeah the uh soweactually these treaties these streetsare being invoked now as with the mcgirtcase in oklahomaand and with dapple with the fort

Laramie treatiesuh they actually are only treaties areonlyinto you by sovereign nations so youhave to by definition be a sovereignnation to even enter into a treaty

And these treaties particular trees wereratified by the ussenate and so they under theconstitutionnever mind international law but underthe constitution they are considered

The supreme law of the land so uhwith the u n of course you know you sawwhat happened over july 4that mount rushmore the black hills uh andat the area north ofstamp the standing rocks reservation are

All withinthe treaty boundaries agreed upon withthe great sioux nation of whichcheyenne river and standing rock and mymy dad's drive the yankets tribeare all um components of

And i i know that there there's beenresistanceuh for generations to a lot ofissues but this this resistance to thepipelinethe we can look back at dample what

Happened there at standing rockas kind of a key moment in thatin that movement joy can you take usback to that and then talk about thedecision last week from the judgeto shut it down and where where this

Puts uswell the dakota access pipeline the thestanding rock sioux tribe had made arequest the grass roots people had madea request that we come and wehelp with them because the core access

Was going through1851 fort laramie treaty and again likejacqueline said treaty is the law of thelandunder article 6 of the united statesconstitution

And so we were making a stand becausethe waterwas um going to going to be affectednot only on standing rock but my myreservation as welland also 18 million people downstream so

We weren't just standing upfor us as as lakota people but we werealso standing up forfor the everyday american downstreamso the dakota access pipeline ondecision that came down

Just recently was the army corps ofengineerswas ordered that they needed to do anenvironmentalimpact statement not just not anassessment

But an actual statement along themissouri river crossingnow that's something that we who are onthe groundhad been asking for since day onethat environmental impact statement be

Completed a study becompleted and it wasn't completedespecially along the missouri riverand so they were ordered that theyneeded to shut down the pipelineenergy transfer partners was told they

Need to shut down the pipelinethat the study needs to be done and thatconsultation with the tribes needs to bedonenow consultation with standing rockshine river

Yankton crow creek lower brule thosethose tribes along the river were nevercompleted to begin withand that has to be done if you'retalking aboutany major crossing along the missouri

Riveror any other major crossing like theyellowstonefor keystone xl or the missouriis the victory here a direct link to thegrassroots resistance

Or is it more about the the legal battlebecauseas we know the pipeline did go forwardand it has been in operation what threethree yearsuntil now um can you talk a little bit

About where where this came from theroots of itwell it all started with grassrootspeople and the grassroots people werethe ones that were pushingour tribal governments to um

See tribal governments are are veryreactionary they're not going to doanythinglike most governments unless the peopletell them to do something rightso the tribe the grassroots people

Really really stood strong and saidhey we need our tribal governments tobecome involvedand to take on this legal battle becausethese are notcheap battles these are expensive

Battles and our tribes are not richtribesuh the standing rock shine riverpine ridge we are some of the pooresttribes in the entire nationand so to get our tribes to say okay

We're going to dedicate xamount of dollars six million dollarseight million dollarsto do do this kind of legal battle thattakes a lot of funding away from otherresources

But it means that much to us asgrassroots peoplethat we want to have this battle we wantto take this battle ondid not independent of one another beingon the ground

And the tribe that wasn't it wasn'tindependentthey are they are closely connected towhat the people wantand what the tribe is willing to doi want to bring in some our youtube

Community right off the bat herelooking at a comment from uh gerard braxbrexter i thinkand it says for the next hundred years iwould imagineoil is the blood of our nation we run on

It until we invent something else weneed it and we need an economicbase donna maybe you can talk about thatdo we need oiland i'm also curious to hear from youabout the atlantic pipeline it was a

Little bit of a different victory theredidn't come from a court or a judgerightright actually with the atlantic coastpipeline thecompanies duke energies and dominion

Um decided to cancel the pipelineand one of the things that we celebratedwas the fact thatuh it was it was done in this way wedidn't have to go throughthe expensive and legal legal battles

That umjoy just described we actuallyin many ways here on the eastthe efforts to run pipelines and tohave other toxic wastes released intoour waters sometimes we feel like it's

Invisibleand so part of our work was to make thevisthe invisible visible uh by bringingattention to what was happening in termsof the

Cumulative and disproportionate impactin in our indigenous communities we hadfour tribes um the lumbee the koharimaharan and halawa saponi who weredirectly on this pipelineand at the time uh that it was announced

There was no awareness that this washappening there had been no consultationthere had not even been anyconversationswith the tribal community so we werefacing some of the

Uh very same problems that uhyou've just heard described in fact atone point the acp was called the dappleof the eastbecause there were so many comparisonswith the number of tribal peoples

Impacted by it so umthe organizing of the the people on theground and especially the indigenouscommunitiesuh was critical in getting us to theplace where we

Where we landed where the companieswithdrewwe have a comment from the let's seehe's the president of the north dakotapetroleum council so he's specificallyreferring to the the dapple

Decision his name's ron ness i like tobring him in herewell obviously we're shocked thismorning i think that uhyou know the the ordering of theshutdown of this pipeline by a district

Judgeon on washington dc is uh number onegoing to be questionedhis authority and his ability to do thisand i'm sure appealed to every extentpossible but

Uh there's been a lot of back and forthon this dakota access pipeline whichcarries almost a half a million barrelsof high quality north dakota bakken oilto what is considered the best market inthe united states for that oil

Uh efficiently reliable as i saidthere's been a lot of discussion backand forth from the safety of thispipelinebut the reality is it's got three plusyears now

Of safe operating procedures behind itjacqueline do you want to address someof those uh he brought up three safeyears of operating behind it and why isa judge in washington dc makingthis decision about what's happening up

In north dakota yeah of course judgemosberg has beenum the presiding judge over this caseyou know me almost the entire time anduh and uh you know he very strongly andstrongly word stated cited the nepa

Violationsthat have been ongoing and uh and ithink that what this illustratesyou know is the conflict between eventhethe political existence and creation of

States in this countryright states are the creation of a stateis predicatedon the um extinguishment orum you know the extinguishment ofsovereignty of tribes

And as you saw in the treaty with thefort laramie treaty you know everythingyou know a good chunk of the state ofnorth dakota westof the uh missouri river uh going southof

Hart river is part of the great siouxnationand there are other treaties that alsoyou know they claim to other parts ofnorth dakotaif those treaties were honored north

Dakota would look like a spider weband so the um you know and this is trueof many statesright so what you see always is that thestateis always in conflict with the tribes

When the state is powerful the tribesare weakwhen the tribes are powerful the stateis weak the very and i think thatamericans need to think about thatlike what does it mean what is their you

Know what is theirthey everyone talks about states as ifthey're these sort of prosaic beingsthat came intoexistence somehow and we're all you knowarizonans and coloradans

But what does that really mean what doesa state really mean and it meansthe suppression of native sovereignty uhand and the taking of resources at willand this is what what his statement isreferring to is their right to do so

And you have a book coming out uh calledstandoff standing rock the bundymovement andthe american story of occupationsovereignty and the fight for sacredlands

And i really use those two standoffs toshow you know where one standoff is sortof giventhe bundys they're given a lot of leewayto do what they want to dobut when when uh when unarmed native

People and their allies stand upyou immediately see that this is amilitary occupation because the militaryoccupation is then made visibleright by the response and we even sawthat just recently on the fourth of july

You know just add into that i think uhthere's much room for criticism of thetrump administration here butthis is what the obama administration ifwe can show my computerthis is what the obama administration

Looked like at standing rockand and you're right that that does lookdifferent than the bundy response andthat does look likeoccupation joy i saw you shaking yourhead there when he mentioned

Three safe years of operation did youhave something to sayi call baloneyit hasn't been three safe years ofoperationwhat north dakota did was they expanded

The amount of gallons that that that youactuallythat would leak before they couldactually report itso there have been leaks along thedakota access pipeline but they've met

Thethe new threshold which is a largerspillyou know so they've met that underneaththat before they even have to report itso there have been leaks along the

Dakota access pipelineuh most notably around the pump stationhere in south dakota only about 70 milesfrom where i livebut it hasn't been this this thiswonderful thing

And the other thing we have to rememberis that the united states is in an oilcloteven before the pandemic it was in anoil glutand so right now it's even more so and

Dakota access pipelinethey go all the way down to illinoisthey meet this huband then they hook up on to buy bayoubridge pipelinewhich goes all the way down into

Louisianais is exported at this little tiny towncalled stjames which is a free slaveum pl uh town little communitythat has been just inundated with with

All kinds of stuff this isthe heart of cancer alley and then it'sexported out of this countryit's not even for the united states soyeah we're already in an oil glut wedon't need we don't need dakota access

Pipelineit needs to shut down and it needs to bestayed shut downand then we're coming after kxl againfor the fourth time so is is this kindof a

Tipping point moment when you considerthat oil glut and the pandemic and nowthesethese uh legal decisions that wellthe oil companies aren't paying anyattention to the pandemic

They don't even mention the pandemic infact keystone xlhas been continuing to build even withthis new rulingthey're still building man camp they'restill building pump stations

So we have to still stay on top of itwhen it comes to these oil companiesand these pipeline companies becausethey're they're not even doing anythingwith the pandemicthey're continuing to build and

Continuing to threatenrural america and my reservationand other reservations and i'd like tojump in herejust for a minute to say that we notonly have an oil blood but we have a gas

Blood as welland uh what we're faced what we werefacing with theacp was that uh that gasalso was most likely going to be sentoffshore

Uh one of the north carolina senatorseven mentioned beforeit was announced publicly that thisproject was uhbeing put in play that we had to havethese

These gas pipelines so that we could uhcompete with russia in europe and souh back in uh 2013 and 14 they werealreadyuh giving evidence of that fact thatthis was not for the united states this

Was foruse around the globe and so uh you knowto say that we'rein um in need of these pipelines isis just ridiculous the only thing thatthey need him for is what the

The myth that they say is oh it's fortax dollars it's not for tax dollarswe've already proven with dakota accessand with the keystone onethat the that the counties that these gothrough

Do not get the money that they saythey're gonna get you don't get the jobsthat they say they're gonna get rightthose jobs never stay they're transientthey leaveand they're not for the community here

Here soah this is all a pr move that thesecompanies giveand it's all baloney so what if it whatis it about if it's not if it's notabout the tax dollars

It is about profits it's about dividendsfor the for the shareholdersand in the case of the atlantic coastpipelineum there were so many reports that werecoming out

Um over the last 18 months that wasshowing it was not justa environmental risk and a communityrisk cultural riskfor the communities on the ground but itwas also a financial risk for the

Shareholdersso even though the bottom line is fordividendsthat wasn't always a beneficialeither so it's about the the profitsso it feels like the windows at your

Back at the moment jacqueline movingforward uh is this is the electionnovemberimportant to this issue in your viewwhat needs to happen going forwardyeah of course uh with the uh dapple uh

Judgmentuh they uh a lot of it depends on theinterpretation of the executive orderthat trumpissued expediting uh pipelines that wasone of the first executive orders he

Signed um in january of the first monthof his presidency wasto uh you know to support apple and torestart uh keystone xl and uh and ofcourse he ended his first year in office

Uh reducing bears ears by uh 95 percentand uh and it's uh there's been a realattackon native sovereignty that's beenongoing um i know that uhyou know his uh his former um secretary

Of the interiorzinke said that most tribes would loveto give up their sovereignty to becomecorporations andin my book i go through a lot of detailabout how the united states is still

In many ways a colony it has no homelandyou knowand at the homework because we're at thelast 30 seconds of the show um so thethe vote will matter inin november the wind is at your back now

But we'll keep watching this issue as itmoves forward i want to thankall of you for being on the stream todayuh really informingour entire international audiencebecause these these kind of movements

Are happening all over the world and iknow they're lookinghere for the lessons learned and sothank you so muchand for the audience we'll see you nexttime

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