Water is Life – it is where we come from, who we are (both in a base physical sense and philosophically as fluid beings in space and time), how we and the ecosystems we depend on survive. And therefore, it is also of prime interest to a capitalist system desperate to commodify everything and everyone. Water is literally a traded commodity on the stock market , perhaps the most prime example of how our system treats finite entities like water as if they were infinitely marketable while treating infinite 1s and 0s on a screen as if they were essential to our survival as a species.
Water is Life
In 2014, the water source of the city of Flint, Michigan, was switched from Lake Huron to the untreated and polluted Flint River, tainting the city’s water supply and setting off a chain of events that led to at least 12 deaths from Legionnaires disease, as well as miscarriages, brain and developmental damage to children, and lead poisoning for the 100,000 residents of Flint. In late August, the state of Michigan offered a $600 million settlement to those affected. Activist Melissa Mays of the Flint advocacy group Water You Fighting For says that the settlement does not go far enough to compensate the residents of Flint.
The Dakota Access Pipeline must be shut down and emptied of oil within 30 days while a lengthy environmental review of the project is conducted, a federal judge ruled Monday. The move was requested earlier this year by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and three other Sioux tribes in the Dakotas who fear environmental harm from the pipeline and have spent four years in court fighting the project. Thousands of pipeline opponents from around the world who took up their cause flocked to southern North Dakota in 2016 and 2017 to protest the project, raising the profile of the tribes' fight. Some clashed with police, resulting in more than 760 arrests. "The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and millions of others who fought against the Dakota Access Pipeline showed us the power of standing together against injustice," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted on Monday. Standing Rock leaders, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the next steps in fighting the pipeline.
Great Falls, MT — A federal judge today ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved Nationwide Permit 12, a water-crossing permit critical for TC Energy’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and many other pipelines nationwide. The ruling invalidates Nationwide Permit 12, prohibiting the Corps from using this fast-tracked approval process for any pipelines nationwide, including Keystone XL. The ruling could also block construction through hundreds of water crossings along the Keystone XL pipeline route. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by conservation and landowner groups last year that challenged the Corps’ failure to adequately analyze the effects of pipelines authorized under Nationwide Permit 12, including Keystone XL, on local waterways, lands, wildlife and communities.
Water Protector Buck Johnston of Taos, New Mexico pulled off a daring 4-day direct action at the top of a multistory well drilling rig this week. On March 14th, accompanied by a small action support team, he scaled the equipment and hooked into the top of the multi-story tower with a climbing harness. He brought food, water, sleeping bag, and a plan to remain in place for four days. Buck Johnston's action has already achieved one of its important goals: breaking the silence in the community around the deep well drilling.
The battle to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline has been a long one, with many successes. Not only did we organize 700 local people to the public comment meetings, we sent around 20,000 public comments in by mail. We have shown up to support and hold teach-ins in communities from Lake Charles to St James, to Shreveport. We have held art parties, and attended council, church, and civic group meetings. We have canvassed neighborhoods and created letter writing campaigns. We have created discomfort for impotent politicians, and sleepless nights for greedy corporate thieves.
Thursday morning, a pipeline protester locked herself to construction equipment on a Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) easement in Montgomery County, VA, bringing pipeline construction on Brush Mountain to a halt. The blockade, carried out by local resident Emily Satterwhite, is the most recent action in an ongoing campaign to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Banners at the site read “Water is Life - We Won’t Back Down” and “VA Dems: Pipelines or Democracy - You Choose.” Dozens of local residents and pipeline resisters have gathered on Brush Mountain to support Emily and express their opposition to the MVP.
WE NEED YOU. I am asking you to make plans to joins us at L’eau Est La Vie Camp ASAP, within the next 6-8 weeks (most effectively in the next four). We’ve been fighting this battle to stop the tail end of DAPL, known as Bayou Bridge. We have won on both a state and federal level, yet the construction continues... The hundreds-of-years-old Cypress trees continue to fall, the water and wildlife cry out from the war zone, and the people in the path are squashed even further beneath the shoes of the oppressor. I realize that it is ceremony time. I realize that there are other important fights out there, and I wouldn’t want anyone to do what they are unable or morally opposed to… but if you ever thought about coming to fight beside me/us, that time is now and honestly like no other.