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29 Oct 16,, 23:53
Seventh cavalry time?

North Dakota pipeline activists say arrested protesters were kept in dog kennels
Sandy Tolan

After a night of chaotic clashes with police on the front lines in a months-long protest, Native American activists complained about the force wielded to drive protesters from the path of a pipeline they contend will desecrate tribal lands and put their lone source of drinking water at risk.

Protesters said that those arrested in the confrontation had numbers written on their arms and were housed in what appeared to be dog kennels, without bedding or furniture. Others said advancing officers sprayed mace and pelted them with rubber bullets.

“It goes back to concentration camp days,” said Mekasi Camp-Horinek, a protest coordinator who said authorities wrote a number on his arm when he was housed in one of the mesh enclosures with his mother, Casey.

At least 141 people were arrested Thursday after hundreds of police officers in riot gear, flanked by military vehicles releasing high-pitched “sound cannon” blasts, moved slowly forward, firing clouds of pepper spray at activists who refused to move.

Authorities claimed some protesters turned violent during the confrontation, setting fires, tossing Molotov cocktails and, in one instance, pulling out a gun and firing on officers.

Some of the activists claimed Friday that police had opened fire with rubber bullets on protesters and horses. One horse was euthanized after being shot in the leg, said Robby Romero, a Native American activist.

“They were shooting their rubber bullets at our horses,” he said. “We had to put one horse down,” he said.

Camp-Horinek said authorities entered the teepees that activists had erected in the path of the pipeline, a four-state, 1,200-mile conduit to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.

“It looked like a scene from the 1800s, with the cavalry coming up to the doors of the teepees, and flipping open the canvas doors with automatic weapons,” he said.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II called for a Justice Department investigation into the police tactics. Amnesty International announced Friday it was sending a human rights delegation to investigate and Sen. Bernie Sanders asked the White House to order the Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily halt construction of the pipeline.

“DOJ can no longer ignore our requests,” Archambault said in a statement. “If harm comes to any who come here to stand in solidarity with us, it is on their watch.”

Authorities have said all along that they have used restraint in the ongoing dispute and had pleaded for activists to retreat from the path of the pipeline and return to the camp where they have been gathered for months.

Most of those arrested were expected to be charged with criminal trespassing, engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire, according to the sheriff's department. Several fires broke out during the confrontation, and sheriff’s officials said seven protesters used “sleeping dragon” devices to attach themselves to vehicles or other heavy objects. The maneuver typically involves protesters handcuffing themselves together through PVC pipe, making it difficult for authorities to remove them using bolt cutters to break the handcuffs.

The protest in the rugged lands along the Cannonball River has lasted months as activists — sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands — have assembled to decry the pipeline project.

But on Friday, with protesters cleared from the path of the pipeline, work was expected to resume on the $3.78-billion Dakota Access Pipeline, operated by the Fortune 500 company Energy Transfer Partners.

“When I left the bus in handcuffs, DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline] trucks were lined up down the highway with construction equipment and materials waiting to come in and begin work,” said Camp-Horinek.

State and county police, the North Dakota National Guard and an oil company private security team cleared protesters, along with the teepees and tents they had erect in the path of the pipeline, and on Friday, authorities removed the final roadblocks that protesters had erected along the highway.

For the most part, protesters remained peaceful during Thursday’s confrontation, though at one point, an activist set fire to a heap of tires that were part of a blockade set up to impede the progress of advancing officers.

Sheriff’s officials said that one woman, while being arrested, pulled out a weapon and fired three rounds in the direction of the police lines. No one was hit, authorities said.

Activists denied that the woman fired the shots and claimed that sheriff’s officials previously had made erroneous reports about protesters’ actions, including passing along rumors of pipe bombs in the activists’ camp.

“The only gunshots that were fired would have come from them,” said Romero, one of the Native American activists. “They are armed. We are unarmed. They are trying to spin the narrative. They are using an increasingly vast military operation to respond to our spiritual resistance.

“They are fast-tracking the pipeline.”

With unimpeded access, pipeline crews could reach the Missouri River in a matter of days. The Obama administration has withheld final approval for the pipeline to cross under the river, on lands controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s office said late Friday that Highway 1806 remained closed after “intense interactions” overnight, including what it called “multiple fires” on a bridge south of the now-vacated “Treaty Stronghhold Camp.”

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kerchmeier said he was coordinating with Standing Rock officials to assist protesters in recovering teepees and other belongings, calling it a “a great example of communication, collaboration and cooperation.” He added: “I am very proud of our officers” who “responded with patience and professionalism and showed continuous restraint throughout the entire event.”

Despite the loss of their “Treaty Stronghold Camp,” which activists erected in recent days saying they were reclaiming land ceded to the Great Sioux Nation in the 1951 Fort


2:37 p.m.: This articles was updated with details and quotes from the Morton County Sheriff’s office.

12:25 p.m.: This article was updated with details and quotes from a Native American protest coordinator.

This article was originally published at 11:45 a.m.

The Dakota Access Pipeline Should’ve Happened 10 Years Ago
The reasons it didn’t are as American as fracking and apple pie.
By Daniel Gross
Protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Demonstrators protest the Dakota Access Pipeline in front of the White House in Washington on Sept. 13.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The showdown in North Dakota between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the company Energy Transfer Partners, which is trying to build a 1,172-mile oil pipeline to Patoka, Illinois, has become both a cause célèbre and a celebrity cause. Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman was arrested there in September, and actress Shailene Woodley was arrested earlier this month. The episode (here’s a good explainer) is compelling in part because it is the latest flare-up in a 500-year conflict between European settlers and Native Americans over the control and use of land. The tribe argues that the pipeline’s path will run through burial ground, and some progressive and environmental groups have also latched on to the cause.

There’s another way the conflict over the Dakota Access Pipeline echoes a theme in American economic development. Americans have long had a tendency to exploit and develop the hell out of a natural resource before building the infrastructure that can carry the goods to market. Mix together ingredients such as the American entrepreneurial id, the private sector’s aversion to collective action, a federal government that was weak for much of its history, and states with strong powers, and you get a toxic stew. Such episodes are a feature of the U.S. economy, not a bug. They often result in disruption, economic waste, environmental problems, and investor tears. And they are why new technologies often arrive via bubbles rather than through rational, well-organized rollouts. (I wrote a book about that!)

North Dakota was not a center of oil production until recently. In fact, the state was seen to be in terminal decline. In 1987, two sociologists proposed that a big chunk of the state could effectively return to the state of nature, a Buffalo Commons. But the advent of a new technology—fracking—led to the discovery of a vast new oil resource in the Bakken Shale in the western part of the country. Companies large and small rushed in to drill for oil. So production boomed, from about 90,000 barrels of oil per day in 2004 to about 500,000 barrels per day in 2011 to about 1.2 million barrels per day last year. That’s an increase of more than 13-fold in 11 years.

Amid the boom, drillers rushed to get the stuff out of the ground. But the infrastructure to transport oil and its byproducts to the market hadn’t been developed. As a result, the boom had a lot of negative impacts on the environment. Natural gas is a byproduct of drilling for oil. In long-established centers of production, companies build the equipment and infrastructure to capture and ultimately use that gas. In North Dakota, where natural gas processing and storage infrastructure lagged behind oil production, companies simply did what wildcatters used to do: They flared it off. As this chart shows, in 2008 and 2015, anywhere from 25 to 35 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota was simply burned. (The proportion has since fallen to about 10 percent.) Flaring natural gas, of course, releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases into the atmosphere.
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Pipelines are generally the preferred method for moving large quantities of oil over long distances, and they are generally quite safe. But the Bakken’s production far outpaced the region’s pipeline capacity. The companies that drilled for oil weren’t spending their resources to build and operate pipelines: Doing so takes a lot of capital and, more significantly, a lot of planning. You have to get permission from a patchwork of landowners, stakeholders, and regulators—private individuals, states, the federal government, and Native American tribes. So they reverted to the 19th-century method of putting crude oil on trains. Between 2010 and 2015, the volume of crude shipped by rail in the U.S. rose 13-fold, and sometimes with dangerous and deadly results. In the 2013 Lac-Mégantic tragedy, a 72-car train filled with Bakken crude exploded in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people. An explosion last summer in Oregon was the latest in a long string of accidents involving trains carrying oil from North Dakota and Canada.

The construction of the pipeline 10 years ago might have helped avert much environmental damage.

The disconnect between production inspired by individual actors and infrastructure that needs collective action to be approved and built is nothing new. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, settlers streamed across the Appalachian Mountains to farm the fertile Ohio River Valley, long before financiers and government officials arranged for the construction of roads and canals that would carry the grain efficiently and economically to New York City and other markets. In the late 1850s and 1860s, oil pioneers started drilling and producing oil in rural Pennsylvania before railroads and pipelines had been built. More recently, entrepreneurs and companies have rushed to build huge wind farms in Texas and the Plains—often far in advance of the construction of transmission lines to carry that power to market. The reality is that mapping out a big interstate infrastructure project takes a degree of planning and coordination between governments and multiple states that isn’t necessary when you’re just, say, drilling for oil or setting up wind turbines but becomes a requirement once those activities reach a critical mass. The challenge is aggravated by the sheer scale of America, as well as by the fact that the federal government doesn’t simply control and manage economic development issues as they come up.

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This is a all kind of a facile explanation. I'll address a few issues here in no particular order: 1) On a BTU basis, oil is much more valuable than gas--right now the ratio is 2. More...

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Add it all up, and standoffs like the one we’re seeing in North Dakota are inevitable. The time to build and plan a pipeline to carry Bakken oil was 10 years ago. And the construction of the pipeline then might have helped avert much of the damage wrought by the burning off of gas and especially the oil train disaster. But North Dakota alone lacked the capacity or interest to lay pipe all the way to Illinois. Oil drillers each have a keen incentive to see a pipeline come into existence but don’t have much incentive or ability to act collectively. The federal government, for all the Western complaints about Washington’s tyranny, treads lightly. So infrastructure, once again, rolls out in a herky-jerky, nonoptimal fashion. In American business, history always rhymes.

Daniel Gross is a longtime Slate contributor. His most recent book is Better, Stronger, Faster. Follow him on Twitter.
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2016/10/the_dakota_access_pipeline_should_ve_happened_10_y ears_ago.html

30 Oct 16,, 00:18
Oil safety or environmental racism? SMU forum shows Dakota Access pipeline divide
Filed under Energy at 4 days ago


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The ongoing dispute about the Dakota Access pipeline may be hard to settle peacefully because the two sides don't even agree on what they're arguing about. That's the takeaway from a forum this week at SMU that included highly credentialed supporters of the pipeline and highly credentialed representatives of the Native American opposition.

The discussion was civil overall, in spite of emotions on both sides. Both sides agreed the proposed pipeline was probably safer that trucks and trains, the current method of transporting oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. But what does that mean?

The 1,172-mile, $3.78 billion project is the work of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. It was 70 percent finished earlier this month when federal authorities ordered a shutdown on several miles of the route because of objections raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe, whose reservation is nearby.
The pipeline route stretches from North Dakota to Illinois.Source: Energy Transfer Partners
The pipeline route stretches from North Dakota to Illinois.
Source: Energy Transfer Partners

The argument continues in federal courtrooms and in protests along the route, where hundreds have been arrested. Over the weekend, authorities even shot down a camera-carrying drone recording a demonstration and arrests.

What there isn't much of is the kind of two-sided peaceful discussion hosted Monday evening at SMU.

As a matter of numbers, the supporters at the forum said the new pipeline would be a technological marvel of its kind and that the average risk of death would be incredibly small, much smaller than, for instance, getting hit by lightning.

For the other side, the comparison would be more like living near a nuclear power plant. The average risk may be tiny, but if something happens and you are nearby, the individual effect could be bad, even if it's not deadly.

But the essential disagreements went far beyond data.

The forum was a co-production of SMU's William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the Maguire Energy Institute. It was titled "Why Standing Rock matters; can oil and water mix?" Of the six people on the panel, two supported the pipeline and four represented tribal interests.

Here's how supporters see the dispute:

· The pipeline will be good for national energy interests and will provide jobs for the region.

· It's the best-designed, most advanced pipeline ever built.

· Pipelines are dramatically safer than trains and trucks. In 2014, only 5,000 barrels of petro products leaked out of a billion sent through pipes.

· Energy Transfer spent years going through all the required government processes needed to get permits.

"Pipelines are the safest form of transportation," said Mohamed Tayeb Benchaita, a Houston-based engineering consultant for the oil and gas industry. "It's cheap. It's affordable."

And here's the other side:

· Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have a long and detailed list of reasons not to trust the U.S. government or major businesses. From treaties signed and violated to the murder of Sitting Bull not far south of where today's protests are being held to a dam that flooded much of the tribe's land, the Standing Rock Sioux have earned their skepticism.

· Whether or not the average risk is small, the specific risk if the pipeline goes bad is of great importance. The maximum risk of one truckload of oil is one truckload of spill. How much could be lost from a huge pipeline? And who gets to decide how much risk is acceptable?

· Whether or not the risk is small on paper, the land sacred to the Sioux is important for reasons that go beyond energy, water and money. And beyond what government archaeologists know what to look for.

· The long and detailed process that Energy Transfer has gone through did not take tribal interests and sovereignty into account.

"The white man is once again threatening our way of life," said Cody Two Bears, a Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman.

About 200 people attended the event. Answers from the panel to questions from the audience showed how far apart the divide remains.

One question was about pipeline safety. The response from supporters was filled with numbers, data about how unlikely a pipeline failure is.

Craig Stevens, spokesman for a pro-pipeline group called Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), said the Dakota pipeline was designed so that even a tiny leak could be detected and the pipeline shut down in three minutes. (He did not, however, say how much oil could leak from the pipeline in those three minutes. According to projected daily flow data from Energy Transfer, an unlikely total blowout could release about 1,000 barrels of oil in that time.)
Taking part in a panel discussion about the Dakota Access pipeline at SMU were (from left) Eric Reed (Choctaw Nation), J.D., a Dallas lawyer who specializes in American Indian Law, Tribal Law, and International Indigenous Rights; Mohamed Tayeb Benchaita, managing partner, B&G Products and Services, LLP; Michael Lawson, President of MLL Consulting and author of Dammed Indians Revisited: the Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux (2010); Kelly Morgan, Lakota Consulting LLC, which provides professional cultural and tribal liaison services in field archaeology; Craig Stevens, Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), a partnership aimed at supporting economic development and energy security benefits in the Midwest; Cody Two Bears, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman and tribal member representing Cannon Ball district, Standing Rock Sioux TribeJeffrey Weiss/Dallas Morning New
Taking part in a panel discussion about the Dakota Access pipeline at SMU were (from left) Eric Reed (Choctaw Nation), J.D., a Dallas lawyer who specializes in American Indian Law, Tribal Law, and International Indigenous Rights; Mohamed Tayeb Benchaita, managing partner, B&G Products and Services, LLP; Michael Lawson, President of MLL Consulting and author of Dammed Indians Revisited: the Continuing History of the Pick-Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux (2010); Kelly Morgan, Lakota Consulting LLC, which provides professional cultural and tribal liaison services in field archaeology; Craig Stevens, Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), a partnership aimed at supporting economic development and energy security benefits in the Midwest; Cody Two Bears, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Councilman and tribal member representing Cannon Ball district, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Jeffrey Weiss/Dallas Morning New

Kelly Morgan, a field archaeologist for North Dakota-based Lakota Consulting LLC, was offended by the welter of numbers.

"Where is the human component?" she asked.

Science and engineering isn't the point, Two Bears said.

"Our teachings and ceremonies will tell us if the pipeline is safe," he said. "It's not no scientist. It's not no 'best technology.'"

The federal block on construction for a small section under the Missouri River is supposed to give government agencies a chance to evaluate whether American Indian concerns were taken properly into consideration. Meetings are planned through November. No date has been set for a decision.