Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Sanders Calls for Stopping Dakota Access Pipeline as Obama Waffles

Energy

By Jon Queally

While President Obama said his administration is willing to let "things play out" for a few more weeks when it comes to the escalating effort by Native American tribes to stop a pipeline in North Dakota, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) offered a distinctly more urgent response on Tuesday by saying "Damn right" the project should be stopped immediately.

Though Sanders has made his opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline known for months, he reiterated his opposition during a campaign rally on behalf of Hillary Clinton at Plymouth State University on Tuesday.

"Stop the Dakota pipeline!" someone yelled from the crowd during the speech, to which Sanders quickly responded: "Damn right." He then added: "That is one of the issues, but there are many others."

Watch here:

Sanders' strong stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline—which has become a rallying point for native tribes and climate campaigners—is sharpening the contrast offered by other Democratic leaders—most notably Obama and Clinton.

Following escalating and violent tactics by police against pipeline opponents, who refer to themselves as "water protectors," Obama told Now This News in a Tuesday interview that while there is an "obligation for authorities to show restraint" against those trying to block the construction, he was willing to let events "play out for several more weeks."

With construction ongoing, however, tribal members have expressed serious concerns that in several more weeks the project would already be beyond the point of no return.

Obama did not say if or how he was willing to intervene further, but did indicate the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls easement rights where the pipeline would go beneath the Missouri River, is currently thinking about how the path could be "rerouted" in a way that would alleviate the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux and other downstream residents.

"We're monitoring this closely," Obama said. "My view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline."

The issue that remains, he added, is "whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of First Americans." But when asked about the "shocking footage" showing abusive treatment of water protectors, Obama called it a "challenging situation" and said both sides have an obligation to refrain "from situations that might result in people getting hurt."

Watch here:

In response to those remarks by the president, Xhopakelxhit, a Native American activist who has been at the Standing Rock camps for more than a month, told the Guardian she was disappointed Obama didn't condemn the police tactics against peaceful protesters.

"Why has he not made a more forceful statement in favor of us? He's basically trying to cover all his bases without actually doing anything," she said. "It's not surprising but it's a coward's way out."

Offering a contrast to Obama's position, Sanders articulated his reasons for outright opposition to the pipeline in an "impassioned" series of tweets earlier this week:

Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton disappointed pipeline opponents and climate activists earlier this week by offering a tepid, middle-of-the-road statement on the project.

"From the beginning of this campaign, Secretary Clinton has been clear that she thinks all voices should be heard and all views considered in federal infrastructure projects," read a statement released by her campaign. "Now, all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest."

In response, critics said characterized the response as a classic Clintonian "triangulation" and Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, said it was a statement that "Literally says nothing. Literally."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less