(GREED) – When the news hit that the Army had stood down, that for a brief second it appeared the people might have a glimpse of what victory actually feels like in the face of impossible odds, I was about as far away from North Dakota as anyone could be. On some deserted Florida beach I had made camp, my communist bandanna flying violently in the wind as I guzzled tall-boy after tall-boy of cheap American beer. Bossa Nova from the 1960’s blared at full volume, a soothing weight to balance out the ever-familiar tension of a mind on high alert. I knew that the times ahead would be the most important and this pipeline business was now more dangerous than ever.
A quick overview of the facts: the Army Corps of Engineers, after facing the possibility of hundreds of military veterans acting as human shields, has decided not to the grant the easement necessary for Energy Transfer Partners to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, seemingly bringing an end to months of protests over the project. Cheers from the northern territories could be heard as faraway as Georgia and the internet was absolutely ablaze with congratulatory memes. The battle had been one, the pipeline would be moved, and one of the tribal leaders was even beginning to ask the nearly 5,000 people assembled to move along unless they belonged to the Sioux tribe.
Weird, isn’t it? Maybe I’m just too far away, maybe the large amount of free ions coming off of the waves and cavorting with booze-soaked brain matter has caused an unnatural reaction, an impervious shield against masturbatory pats on the back but…doesn’t this all seem a bit too easy? Doesn’t anybody remember the FIRST time we were told the battle was won?
On September 9, the Obama administration revoked authorization for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on federally controlled lands and asked the pipeline’s owners, led by Energy Transfer Partners, to voluntarily halt construction on adjacent areas at the center of protests by Native Americans and supporters.
However, at the same time the pipeline and protests surrounding it were galvanizing an international swell of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its Sacred Stone Camp, another federal move on two key pipelines has flown under the radar….
Within a two-week span in May 2016, as the Sacred Stone Camp was getting off the ground as the center of protests, the U.S.Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued presidential permits for the Trans-Pecos and Comanche Trail Pipelines. Together, the pipelines will take natural gas obtained from fracking in Texas’ Permian Basin and ship it in different directions across the U.S.-Mexico border, with both starting at the Waha Oil Field.
Even that was a joke, a judge quickly ruling the DAPL could continue on it’s merry way and fuck what’cha heard. Still, even if this most recent stop of the Dakota access line actually sticks what exactly has been won?
The Army Corps of Engineers announced it will look for an alternate route for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, not that it’s stopping anything. This is the equivalent of the State saying “you guys pissed off too many people and we don’t want images of a bunch of vets getting maced on the TV. You can keep building the pipeline, just stay off the Rez.” The same insanely dirty and insanely dangerous pipeline was still going to be built, still do massive amounts of environmental damage, and still connect to other pipelines. There will still be pipeline spills in many states and hazardous materials would still be shipped into residential areas right alongside schools and major traffic.
Excuse me for being blunt but this isn’t a fucking victory for anybody but the Sioux.
The whole country rallied to stop an indigenous people from being exploited but beyond that absolutely nothing has happened. How telling than that once the tribal lands are off the table people are being told they’ve “served their purpose” and need to get the fuck out of Dodge.
“They brought worldwide attention to this area and I am thankful for their support, and I am thankful for their efforts but it’s time now. And everybody can just relax and go home.“
The Greed Florida Office has sent numerous cables to Standing Rock leaders asking if they will be leading the charge to stop other pipelines, such as the one ripping it’s way through our own pristine wilderness, but as of yet no word.
From a tactical standpoint it boggles the mind that people are being told to “go home.” You have a city, a literal city, of 5,000 people with renewable energy all united by a common cause. It could transform into an American Freetown Christiania, a hub for Eco-Warriors to launch campaigns against other pipelines while challenging the idea that a corporation’s desires usually become law. This is a special place, a sacred place by all accounts where multiple tribes have united with the rest of the country to pursue a vision in league in Mother Earth.
People used to build temples over places like that.
Eagles are letting people pet them for Christ-sake, and everything ends as soon as the pipeline no longer becomes the tribe’s responsibility?
Surely the leaders of Standing Rock then have some master plan in store, some country-wide strategy to combat the evils of pipeline pollution that threaten sacred groves and forests all across the country?
“I’m asking them to go,” Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration “did the right thing,” and that he hoped to “educate the incoming administration” of President-elect Donald Trump.
Well. That sure sounds promising especially since the Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated $100,000 to a committee supporting Trump’s election.
Let me weigh the two options here: a sacred city of 5,000 people dedicated to combating the black snakes circling what little wilderness this country has left and protecting the planet versus “educating” a human cartoon with a spray-on tan who has about as much empathy as a bag of rocks taken from a freshly demolished slaughterhouse.
Yeah. Fuck it. Why not?
Why not stop while you have the initiative, why take your momentary regional victory and turn it into an actually revolutionary spearhead, why not embrace the tactics so peculiar to World War 1 and not move a single fucking inch when the gods themselves roll the dice in your favor?
Why not just tell everyone you won and put the political activism board game back up in the closet?
“Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) and Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) announced that the Administration’s statement today that it would not at this time issue an “easement” to Dakota Access Pipeline is a purely political action – which the Administration concedes when it states it has made a “policy decision” – Washington code for a political decision. This is nothing new from this Administration, since over the last four months the Administration has demonstrated by its action and inaction that it intended to delay a decision in this matter until President Obama is out of office…
The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.
As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”
- At best this merely re-routes the pipeline off the radar of the Sioux people and continues on it’s merry way to fuck up the rest of the country.
- At worst, just as before, this is merely an appeasement to get the Sioux to lower their guard until the pipeline can do whatever the fuck it wants anyway. Considering how the President-Elect feels about it one wonders what a pipeline friendly administration might do.
Far away from my beach on the Florida coast even I can sense something is amiss. Could the Sioux leaders really be so foolish to blow such a big opportunity? Could their concern about pipelines really only extend to the borders of their own territory? Out here on the quietly warm coast, waves spraying and seagulls calling, I’m left to ponder if Florida is as alien to them as North Dakota is to me. Separated by 2,091 miles maybe we might as well be on different planets.
Time will tell, though if the situation remains as it is it may be up to the activists that went to Standing Rock to continue the battle in their home states.
The country, perhaps the planet, will depend on them bringing the fire of Standing Rock out of the snow and into the wider world.