By Andy Campbell for Huffington Post. Republican lawmakers in North Dakota are taking aim at protesters with a handful of bills that would make another pipeline protest far more dangerous. The oil-friendly legislature argues that its constituents are frustrated over the protests, which led federal authorities to halt construction of the $3.8-billion Dakota Access Pipeline as thousands of protesters braved cold weather and violence for months. A bill that state GOP Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced would exempt drivers from liability if they accidentally hit a pedestrian, according to the Bismarck Tribune. House Bill 1203 was written up in direct response to groups of protesters blocking roadways, Kempenich told the paper. He claims protesters were seen jumping out in front of vehicles.
By Caroline Grueskin for the Bismarck Tribune. MANDAN, N.D. | A petition to let out-of-state lawyers represent pipeline protesters has drawn thousands of public comments to the North Dakota Supreme Court. The vast majority of the comments, which come from as far away as Hawaii, are in favor of the petition, which arose from concerns among some lawyers there were not enough criminal defense attorneys in the state to handle the 570-plus criminal cases arising from the Dakota Access pipeline protests. When the petition was filed in mid-December, 264 people were listed as being without attorneys, a problem they said could be partly attributed to a shortage of public defenders and private criminal defense lawyers.
By Staff of Echo En LA – After so many days of preparation, and then the real thing, the aftermath of #NODAPLRoseParade is something overwhelming, something epic, something comforting, and something exhausting. Today Water Protectors held true to their commitments and buckled down for the long haul waking up before sunrise, some pulling all nighters to prep the float, others coordinating logistics, and when the time came for us all to march, march in solidarity we did. I have to say that the venue of the #RoseParade is probably the largest audience this group has seen. And for the most part, in the protests I’ve been a part of, they like to keep us away from the mainstream population
By Eliott C. McLaughlin for CNN – The Minneapolis Police Department identified the climbers as Karl Mayo, 32, and Sen Holiday, 26. “They climbed up a metal guardrail to climb up these big trusses that hold up the roof,” said Minneapolis police spokeswoman Sgt. Catherine Michal. Those sitting beneath the dangling protesters were evacuated as negotiators tried to persuade the climbers to return to solid ground, she said. Several fans posted images on social media, saying they noticed the banner in the first half of the game. Eric Biermann of Minneapolis told CNN he saw police gathering on the platform above banner.
By Barbara With and Rebecca Kemble for Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. According to Angela Bibens, an attorney from Colorado and a member of the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), the conditions of North Dakota’s legal system at present are making it impossible for fair trials to take place due to several factors. The Morton County Sheriff’s department made the decision to take a hard-line, militarized position in its response to the nonviolent activities of unarmed water protectors. This includes the use of water cannons, flash bang canisters, rubber bullets, and mace, which resulted in hundreds of water protectors being injured at the front lines. As of August 19, 2016, there were just 28 DAPL-related arrests. By mid-December, 500 more people have been arrested and charged. This was a crisis of their own making, which has cost the state over $17 million in law enforcement fees.
By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Is this the next #NoDAPL? The Ramapough Lunaape tribe in the township of Mahwah, New Jersey are protesting the interstate Pilgrim Pipeline, a proposed 178-mile dual pipeline that would carry fracked Bakken shale oil from Albany, New York to the Bayway Refinery in Linden, New Jersey. While it is not yet finalized, the preliminary route crosses five counties and 30 municipalities in New Jersey and five counties and 25 municipalities in New York, as well as the Highlands region, where the groundwater and surface water are the direct source of water for more than 4.5 million people in both states, according to the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline.
By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – With the Dakota Access Pipeline nearly 90% complete, developers are focusing their attention elsewhere. Meanwhile, protests against additional pipelines throughout the country have yet to receive a tenth of the airtime. “If you draw a line from Chicago to the Gulf Coast — Houston, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge — that line goes through Patoka, Illinois,” John Moody, a spokesman for the Association of Oil Pipelines told the Chicago Sun Times. “Then start in Cushing, Oklahoma, and draw a line across to Cleveland and Detroit and central Ohio, and that line goes through Patoka. Patoka is a crossroads for energy delivery.”
By Four Arrows for Truth Out – Late afternoon on December 27, “Lunatic Outpost” released a video showing a group of about “20 to 50″ Water Protectors who, while returning from a prayer walk along the Cannonball River, were chased down by armed security from DAPL and Morton County Sheriff’s Department. A helicopter and tracked vehicles were involved in the pursuit. Behind the images of the large number of police and security dotting the snow-covered terrain played, background radios from the Standing Rock medics could be heard. “We need a medic team. We need a team ready to roll now.” Then the narrator says “Four women were taken away in a red paddy wagon of some sort.”
By Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright for The Leap. The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is yet another violent variable in the equation of environmental racism that plagues the United States, and the world—to the peril of Indigenous and low-wealth communities of color everywhere. Native lands, water, sacred sites, and sovereignty have been sacrificed to “spare” majority white areas north of Bismarck, North Dakota from the myriad risks of this pipeline. Now, in what can only be characterized as abject avarice, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)—the principal corporation behind DAPL—is pushing for expedited completion of the project, despite the fact that their major investors and stockholders inevitably stand to lose a significant amount of money. That’s because the Army Corps of Engineers, the key federal agency responsible for DAPL, announced on December 4th that they are denying a critical easement and associated permit required for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, pending further environmental analysis. The financial implications of this decision are both far reaching and profound, and may signal the death knell of DAPL.
By Collin Ruffino for The Leap – I recently became aware that Citibank has provided a significant portion of the financing to Energy Transfer Partners for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. I am writing to urge you to divest from this destructive and unethical project and to cease the financing of all other current and future projects that do not respect native sovereignty or that require the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels. I have been a Citibank customer for X years and will be closing my accounts with your bank and urging others to do so until there is positive action on the part of Citigroup.
By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – A few weeks ago, actress and activist Susan Sarandon made headlines when she asked supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – who are protesting the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) – to pull their money out of the banks which are invested in its development. “Water protectors”, who have been camped out near Cannon Ball, ND, since April, argue that the controversial DAPL will uproot sacred burial ground and potentially contaminate the Missouri River. In addition, they maintain that the land is rightfully theirs due to an 1851 treaty which was never revoked.
By Susan Abulhawa, via Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today. North Dakota – At Standing Rock, so much was not what it seemed from the distance of news headlines and reports. Up close, one could see the ideological tension in romanticized groups where some are driven by moral imperatives and others by personal glory. A hidden truth about the rank and file of the U.S. military was also laid bare. There are many untold contradictions behind the drama that unfolded at Standing Rock. Although this remains a people’s struggle against the capitalist interests of a corporate military state, there are moral inconsistencies that bear telling.
By Beverly Bell of Other Worlds. Standing Rock, ND – The power of mobilized, united people was proven once again on December 4, when the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit necessary for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be laid under the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestral Missouri River. The Army announced that it would explore alternative routes. Despite these advances, victory is not assured. Growing the visibility and resistance is the only way to prevent the Trump administration from clearing legal roadblocks so that Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the $3.7 billion oil project, can proceed. Fierce political pressure is essential to stopping the pipeline from being dug under the river as per the current plan, or from a rerouted access point in another community with less power.
By Crystal Zevon and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. NOTE: The report below is compiled from posts made by Popular Resistance reporter Crystal Zevon (also of Searching for Occupy). Crystal was on the ground in the Oceti Sakowin Camp of Standing Rock in November and returned last week. Thousands of veterans and allies arrived over the weekend to be present for the possible eviction of the camp. On Monday, the light snowfall that was forecast turned into a dangerous blizzard. Temperatures dropped and many people sought refuge in Cannon Ball. Many people have gone home, but a solid group of people remain. We were there yesterday. They have a good supply of food. What are needed most are firewood, cold weather gear to protect skin from exposure, and winterization supplies. The camp will remain and the resistance to DAPL continues.
By Bob Kinzel for VPR – Eight people were arrested as several hundred protesters gathered in downtown Montpelier Monday to voice their continued opposition to a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux have been joined by protesters from around the country to fight a pipeline that they say could contaminate water supplies and desecrate sacred grounds. Over the weekend, the U.S. Corps of Engineers said it would consider alternative routes for the pipeline, designed to transport half a million barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. The Obama Administration has called for a comprehensive environmental review of the project.