Santa Barbara Votes To Divest From Banks Funding Dakota Access Pipeline

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By Grace Feldmann and Emiliano Campobello for Last Real Indians – SANTA BARBARA, California / village of Syuxtun—9/19/17, Santa Barbara City Council voted to proceed toward divesting over $40 million from banks funding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) starting with divestment of $6.25 million. This includes the early sale of $2.25 million in investments with Wells Fargo & Goldman Sachs. Also, a $4 million note with Union Bank is maturing and will be reinvested according to ethical investment goals, to the extent that such investments achieve “substantially equivalent safety, liquidity and yield” compared to traditional investments. These decisions come after a year of public pressure by the Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition (SBSRC), Chumash tribes, and allied groups. The City Council decided it is in the city’s best interest to encourage social responsibility goals rather than align with companies that disrespect indigenous treaties, commit human rights abuses, and destroy the environment. The policy specifically discourages investments in entities that “manufacture, distribute or provide financing to industries such as tobacco products, weapons, military systems, nuclear power, and fossil fuels,” and encourages companies that “support community well being through safe, environmentally sound practices, and fair labor practices.”

Trump Attorney Sues Greenpeace Over Dakota Access In $300 Million Racketeering Case

People protesting the Dakota Access pipeline march past San Francisco City Hall in November 2016. Credit:  Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a $300 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their activism against the long-contested North Dakota-to-Illinois project. In its 187-page complaint, Energy Transfer alleges that “putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct” caused the company to lose “billions of dollars.” In the case, Energy Transfer is represented by lawyers from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, one of the namesakes of which is Marc Kasowitz. Kasowitz is a member of the legal team representing President Donald Trump in the ongoing congressional and special counsel investigation of his 2016 presidential campaign’s alleged ties and potential collusion with Russian state actors. The press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit details that Kasowitz attorney Michael J. Bowe is leading what the firm describes as an ongoing probe into the environmental groups’ “campaign and practices.”

No DAPL Activists Home Searched By Federal Agents In Iowa

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya No DAPL Activists

By Staff of Mississippi Stand. This morning on August 11, before the sun spoke, over 30 unidentified agents entered the Berrigan House of the Des Moines Catholic Worker, related to a federal investigation regarding Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya’s peaceful, direct action campaign. the FBI raided Berrigan House here in Des Moines, Iowa, related to a federal investigation to Jess and Ruby’s activities regarding their peaceful actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Case No. 4:17-mj-382 Over 30 agents, with guns and assault rifles drawn, entered the home. One agent, “Dave” who refused to identify himself any further, said they had a warrant, but we were unable to see it for several hours as they conducted the search. We were also unable to reach our attorneys during this time as they had essentially kicked us out of our own homes and denied us access to phone numbers to our attorneys.

Two Women Claim Responsibility For DAPL Fires And Valve Destruction

"We will fight back through through the courts, protests, and any means available and necessary," says Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/flickr/cc)

By Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya for Earth First Journal – The Dakota Access Pipeline is an issue that affects this entire nation and the people that are subject to its rule. With DAPL we have seen incredible issues regarding the rule of law, indigenous sovereignty, land seizures, state sanctioned brutality, as well as corporate protections and pardons for their wrongdoings. To all those that continue to be subjected to the government’s injustices, we humbly stand with you, and we ask now that you stand with us. Federal courts gave corporations permission to lie and withhold information from the public resulting in a complete media blackout. So, after recently being called by the Intercept, an independent media outlet, regarding illegal surveillance by the Dakota Access Pipeline and their goons, we viewed this as an opportunity to encourage public discourse surrounding nonviolent direct action as well as exposing the inadequacies of the government and the corporations they protect. After having explored and exhausted all avenues of process, including attending public commentary hearings, gathering signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, participating in Civil Disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies…

Emails Show Iraq War PR Alums Led Attempt To Discredit Dakota Access Protesters

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By Steve Horn for Desmog – Behind the scenes, as law enforcement officials tried to stem protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, alumni from the George W. Bush White House were leading a crisis communications effort to discredit pipeline protesters. Emails show that the firms Delve and Off the Record Strategies, apparently working on contract with the National Sheriffs’ Association, worked in secret on talking points, media outreach, and communications training for law enforcement dealing with Dakota Access opponents mobilized at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. This revelation comes from documents obtained via an open records request from the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department in Wyoming. As previously reported by DeSmog, the GOP-connected firm DCI Group led the forward-facing public relations efforts for Dakota Access via a front group called Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN). Today MAIN has morphed into a national effort known as Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN). Delve is an opposition research firm run by Jeff Berkowitz, former Republican National Committee research director and official in the George W. Bush White House. His company led research efforts on behalf of the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Dakota Access Security Firm's Top Adviser Led Military Intelligence Efforts For 1992 LA Riots

James “Spider” Marks speaking in support of the Bayou Bridge pipeline at a Louisiana permit hearing in February 2017. Credit: Julie Dermansky for DeSmog

By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman for Desmog – Retired Major General James “Spider” Marks chairs the advisory board for TigerSwan, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to help police protests of the Dakota Access pipeline — an approach for which Marks has shown vocal support. DeSmog has found that Marks also headed up intelligence efforts for the task force which brought over 10,000 U.S. military troops to police the 1992 riots following the acquittal of Los Angeles Police Department members involved in beating Rodney King. In addition, Marks, a long-time military analyst for CNN, led intelligence-gathering efforts for the U.S. military’s 2003 “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, which was dubbed “Operation Iraqi Liberation.” In recent months, Marks has endorsed Dakota Access and its southern leg, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. He has shown this support by writing op-ed pieces published in various newspapers and on the website of a pro-Dakota Access coalition run by a PR firm funded by Energy Transfer Partners. “I spent a good portion of my adult life in Iraq, and I must tell you that the similarities are stark,” Marks said in November of the anti-Dakota Access encampment set up by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The Company Behind Dakota Access Pipeline Has Another Big Problem In Ohio

A protester waves an American flag as an activist approaches the police barricade with his hands up on a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

By Catherine Traywick for Bloomberg – The year began with optimism for Rover. The 2016 election landed friends of Energy Transfer in high places. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was a company director before he became Energy secretary. President Donald Trump is a former shareholder. After just two weeks in office, Trump cleared the way for the Dakota Access pipeline, which was stalled for months amid protests from Native Americans and their supporters. In that case, Energy Transfer needed a single approval to complete construction — a federal easement allowing it to drill beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. For Rover, the hold-up stems from mishaps that have prompted federal regulators to look closely at Energy Transfer’s conduct before allowing work to finish. Hint of Trouble The first hint of trouble came last year, when Energy Transfer disregarded a FERC recommendation and razed the 173-year-old Stoneman House in Carroll County, Ohio. The agency used the demolition as a basis for denying Rover a blanket construction permit, forcing Energy Transfer to seek federal approvals at virtually every stage of construction. With that restriction, FERC approved the project in February, and Energy Transfer undertook an aggressive construction push. In a matter of weeks, workers cleared 2,918 acres of trees along 511 miles of the pipeline’s route, finishing just in time to beat bat-roosting season, which would have halted work. The company said it’s hired 13,000 workers over the past four months.

Fight Against DAPL Continues Inside And Outside Federal Courthouse

Demonstrators protest the Dakota Access pipeline outside a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Clara Romeo / Truthdig)

By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) made a strong showing of support Wednesday outside a courthouse in Washington, D.C. The self-described “water protectors” rallied while representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes appeared before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg as part of a status hearing in their case against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite months of protests, the corps has allowed the oil pipeline to operate near tribal lands. Last week, the judge ruled in favor of the tribes by ordering the corps to “reconsider” its risk analysis of the controversial pipeline. Wednesday’s rally, according to a press release by organizers Rising Hearts Coalition, “will … provide remedy options in how to move forward for both parties.” “Oil still flows,” states the event page for the rally. “But this is a crucial victory in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Victory For Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds Approval Of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated Law

Flags fly at the Oceti Sakowin Camp in 2016, near Cannonball, North Dakota.

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By Jan Hasselman and Phillip Ellis for Earth Justice – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline. A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects. In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week. “This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline…

Dakota Access Pipeline Is Already Springing Leaks

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By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change – The yet to be completed, controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has leaked more than 100 gallons of oil already. The pipeline sprang two separate leaks in March. First, 84 gallons of oil were spilled due to a leaky flange on March 3. This leak was located in Watford City. According to the North Dakota Health Department the oil flow was immediately cut off and the spill was contained on the site. A second incident happened on March 5 in Mercer county and spilled 20 gallons of oil. The leak was due to a manufacturing defect on an above-ground valve. The contaminated soil was removed and nothing else was affected. More recently the pipeline spilled another 84 gallons just outside of Tulare, South Dakota. This took place on April 1 and was due to mechanical failure during the testing of a surge pump, according to Aberdeen News. Although the company behind the project, Energy Transfer Partners, and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources consider these “small” leaks and insist they were easily contained, the spills are troubling for many environmentalists, and more importantly for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that has spent the last year and a half protesting the completion of the pipeline.

Dakota Pipeline Builder Under Fire For Ohio Spill: 8 Violations In 7 Weeks

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – U.S. regulators halted construction at new sites on an Ohio pipeline after several million gallons of drilling mud coated important state wetlands. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, is under fire from federal and state regulators after triggering a massive spill, and seven other violations, during the first seven weeks of construction of a major gas pipeline in Ohio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Rover pipeline operator ordering it to not start construction on any new locations, as well as to stop construction at the site of the major wetlands spill and to hire an independent contractor to dig into what went wrong there. “Staff has serious concerns regarding the magnitude of the incident (which was several orders of magnitude greater than other documented [horizontal directional drilling] inadvertent returns for this project), its environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for its occurrence, and the possibility of future problems,” federal regulators wrote. The phrase “inadvertent returns” is industry speak for a certain type of spill or release of construction material.

Dakota Access Pipeline Spills At South Dakota Pump Station

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By Staff of Unicorn Riot – Spink County, SD – Officials have provided public notice of a leak of oil from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) which occurred over a month ago. On April 4, 84 gallons of oil (roughly equivalent to two barrels) leaked at a pipeline pump station in a rural area near Crandon, South Dakota, according to the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ground Water Quality Program. The Dakota Access Pipeline is not yet operational but company officials claim it will go online June 1. The Dakota Access Pipeline faced massive opposition in North Dakota, where it’s route goes underneath the Missouri River about a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. Indigenous water protectors have repeatedly cited the threat to clean drinking water posed by a potential pipeline leak as well as a lack of consent from affected tribes, among their motivations for fighting the pipeline. “These spills are going to be nonstop,” Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault told ABC news. “With 1,200 miles of pipeline, spills are going to happen. Nobody listened to us. Nobody wants to listen, because they’re driven by money and greed.”

Dakota Pipeline Is Ready for Oil, Without Spill Response Plan For Standing Rock

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By Phil Mckenna for Inside Climate News – Without a complete emergency plan or equipment, a spill at the Missouri River crossing could cause tremendous damage to the environment and the tribe’s water. Oil is set to flow through the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, but there is still no oil spill response plan in place for the section of pipe that crosses the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock reservation. The company won’t be required to have emergency response cleanup equipment stored near the river crossing for another year, either. The lack of rigorous safety measures for the crude oil pipeline is raising concerns from lawyers and pipeline consultants for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose protests and legal fight against the Dakota Access pipeline became a flashpoint for environmental justice and indigenous rights last year. Despite the prolonged resistance, the pipeline is scheduled to begin operating on June 1 after President Donald Trump issued an order expediting its approval. Dakota Access LLC, the company building the pipeline, is required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to submit a general emergency plan for the entire half-million-barrel-a-day project before oil shipments begin.

In Heat Of Dakota Access Protests, National Sheriffs' Association Lobbied For More Military Gear

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By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – At the end of 2016, as a mix of sheriffs, police, and private security forces were clashing with those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the National Sheriffs’ Association was lobbying Congress for surplus military gear and on undisclosed issues related to the now-operating oil pipeline. This information comes from federal lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by DeSmog. The National Sheriffs’ Association, a trade association representing sheriffs’ departments nationwide, hired the firm Ervin Hill Strategy to lobby on its behalf during quarter four of 2016 and quarter one of 2017. Lobbyist and former congressional staffer John Blount was assigned to the cause. Blount did not respond to a request for comment for this story. The multi-state policing response at Standing Rock came under sharp criticism due to its highly militarized nature against the Native American-led opposition. Spurred by the North Dakota governor’s emergency declaration, law enforcement officials nationwide began pouring into North Dakota under the auspices of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

Dakota Access Pipeline Now Has Oil Beneath Missouri River

Native American protesters and their supporters are confronted by security during a demonstration against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, September 3, 2016. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

By Staff of NBC News – The Dakota Access pipeline developer said Monday that it has placed oil in the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and that it’s preparing to put the pipeline into service. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a brief court filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The announcement marks a significant development in the long battle over the project that will move North Dakota oil 2,000 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline is three months behind schedule due to large protests and the objections of two American Indian tribes who say it threatens their water supply and cultural sites. ETP’s filing did not say when the company expected the pipeline to be completely operating, and a spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking additional details. “Oil has been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath Lake Oahe. Dakota Access is currently commissioning the full pipeline and is preparing to place the pipeline into service,” the filing stated. Despite the announcement, the battle isn’t over. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes still have an unresolved lawsuit that seeks to stop the project.