American Elephants


The Final Bill For the Standing Rock Protests is About $43 Million by The Elephant's Child

021517-debris-1-1170x775The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline ended back at the end of February, with 240 rollout dumpsters to carry away the mess the protesters left behind. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned on spending more than $1 million just to clean up. At the end of September North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services announced that taxpayers will have to pay about $43 million in expenses accrued as the state struggled to respond to the 233 days of protesters.

The Standing Rock protesters claimed that they were “peaceful and prayerful,” but rioters “threw stones, feces and Molotov cocktails at cops, obstructed roads, set fires, and even rode on horseback behind a herd of bison, attempting to stampede them towards law enforcement.” 8,000 to 10,000 people camped out to protest the pipeline. Local authorities had to ask for help from law enforcement in 11 states to cope. More than 750 protesters were arrested and at least 107 of those charged have pleaded guilty or been found guilty, some on multiple counts. Most of the costs will be paid by North Dakotans, but the Department of Justice provided the state with a $10 million grant which make taxpayers nationwide responsible for the Leftist’s criminal antics.

The protests, of course were not about tribal rights or cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned or controlled by the Standing Rock Sioux, the land in question belongs to the federal government or private owners.

The tribe was consulted, more than 50 tribes were consulted, and resulted in 140 adjustments to the route. It was not about the water, the drinking water intake is about 70 miles downriver from where the pipeline was slated to cross the Missouri River, and runs 100 feet below the river. It was not about the climate. The oil has already been produced and transporting it by train or truck is far more susceptible to accidents and spills.

The protests ended pretty much when winter set in. Camping out is not nearly so much fun when it gets really cold. And once the oil was flowing as intended, the protests were moot.

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Protests and Protesters, The Standing Rock Sioux Revisited by The Elephant's Child

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In the election just passed, in spite of the death threats and harassment of electors, pleas of celebrities, all but two of Donald Trump’s electors were unswayed. Hillary lost five votes to Colin Powell, Bernie Sanders, and Faith Spotted Eagle. The proprietors of one talk show, at least, thought someone was voting for a bird.

The latter faithless electors, at least four of them, were here in Washington State. The vote for Faith Spotted Eagle came from Robert Satiacum Jr, a member of the Puyallup tribe, here in Western Washington. He explained:

In the words of Robert Satiacum, Jr., the Washington elector who cast that vote, she is “a real leader” who has stood up for environmental causes. The 68 year-old is a member of South Dakota’s Yankton Sioux tribe. A licensed counselor, she began a group known as the Brave Heart Society to help bring back traditional knowledge and culture by working with youth, particularly young women.

On a national level, she is more well known for her environmental activism. In 2013, she led protests against the Keystone pipeline, which would have crossed South Dakota. During the protests, she feared not only environmental contamination but that the “man camps” that the company planned to build to house its primarily-male workforce would lead to violence against women. At the time, she likened the idea to U.S. Army forts in the plains in the 1800s.

Now, she is an ally of the protesters trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In September, she and other tribal leaders in Yankton sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing that the project had failed to receive a proper environmental study.

Even if you are far from the Dakotas, it’s worth understanding what this is all about. Part is the glamour of “Protest.” Mounting the barricades to stand against oppression seems noble, excuses your own flaws, and doesn’t matter, really, if the protest succeeds. That’s why so many celebrities show up at protests. Becoming known for appearing in movies or on television is not exactly a record of great accomplishment, but of playing a bit part in a large collaborative effort often just because you’re pretty or able to follow directions well. Great actors are not usually the ones who show up at protests to get more media attention.

Here are two articles that do a good job.  One is from Commentary, by Naomi Schaffer Riley, and the other is from the Wall Street Journal by North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer. Our relations with the nation’s Indian tribes is certainly imperfect. But one big major flaw is that the Indian nations don’t really own the land of their reservation. In particular, they cannot drill for the oil and gas that exist under their reservations. They can build casinos which have helped to alleviate the poverty of many reservations, but there would seem to be no reason why they should not be able to exercise their own sovereignty over their own land, except for worthless objections to all fossil fuels by ignorant Greens.

Coming home last night and observing all the lights in the industrial part of Seattle, as well as the high-rise downtown, I was struck by the utter impossibility of powering that vast city with windmills and solar panels, and not biofuels nor algae either. Not going to happen. The two articles tell you a lot about protests, the environmental movement, Native American reservations and the media. Worth understanding. It is not about water. The pipeline crosses the river more than a mile and a half below the reservation. It’s not about reservation land, it is only on private or federal land. It’s not about safety. The pipeline is double strength, has automatic shutoff valves on each side of the river, and is 100 feet below the river next to an existing pipeline.  The pipeline is 93% finished, except for this last little stretch. Pipelines have an outstanding record of safety, oil trains and trucks do not.



Sometimes a Picture Speaks More Loudly than Words by The Elephant's Child

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The Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe of about 10,000, are leading the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, which they claim could pollute the Missouri River, the tribe’s main source of drinking water, and harm cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The tribe is working with the environmental group Earthjustice and has filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the government didn’t properly consult them before approving the section of pipeline that runs near the reservation.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, says it has followed state and federal rules, met with Native American tribes, and proposed different versions of the pipeline route. The pipeline is 92 percent complete, only the small portion near the reservation is being contested. The pipeline does not enter the Standing Rock reservation.

Aseem Prakash, director of the Center for Environmental Politics at the University of Washington contends that the conflict reflects deeper-seated grievances of Native Americans. Years of injustices and their preferences not adequately taken into account. The pipeline goes through private land, not the reservation, but the tribe contends the land was acquired improperly and actually belongs to them by the terms of a 1851 treaty with the US government.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered a mandatory evacuation of protesters. A group of military veterans have said they will join the tribes’ protest. CNN says ‘hundreds’ of veterans, but that’s CNN. There’s apparently a lot of fossil-fuel hatred in the mix as well. You can tell how deeply serious it all is by the fact that Jane Fonda and someone named Shailene Woodley turned up to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the protesters.

President Obama, who had approved the pipeline, reneged and halted it. The Army Corps of Engineers who had approved the pipeline reneged, and said they would have to reroute it, and that’s where it is at the moment. The map above, though humorous, clearly indicates the absurdity of the whole thing. Donald Trump is probably not up to either being fearful of fossil fuels, nor particularly sensitive to Native American angst about an 1851 Treaty that they’ve decided was unfair.

If the oil cannot be transported safely by a pipeline, it will be transported unsafely by train or truck.




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