Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Pepper Sprayed in Latest Standoff

Popular
Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Pepper Sprayed in Latest Standoff

Since last Thursday's violent police raid, which established a militarized zone around Dakota Access Pipeline construction areas, the Morton County Sheriff and supporting agencies have fanned out into the area surrounding the Oceti Sakowin camp.

Groups of police vehicles have parked in several areas to monitor the activity at the camp. One such area is a hill behind the main resistance camp, directly across part of the Cannonball river, known as Cantapeta Creek.

The original people of the area describe this hill as a sacred site, one that contains ancient burial grounds, which police are desecrating by parking their vehicles on it.

On Wednesday morning, a group of water protectors attempted to cross the Cannonball to establish a prayer camp on the sacred hill near Cantapeta Creek. They built a wooden footbridge so that people could cross the water.

Law enforcement responded to the footbridge by firing less-lethal projectiles at people attempting to cross. SWAT officers in a boat tore the footbridge away with rope.

Several people, including a journalist, said they were shot in the back by police with less-lethal rounds at point blank range.

Medics reported that some of these individuals were coughing up blood from internal bleeding.

After the footbridge was broken up by police, people remained in the water on the shore of the sacred site.

Morton County Sheriff, North Dakota Highway Patrol and unidentified out-of-state law enforcement personnel repeatedly used chemical weapons (pepper spray, OC gas and what we believe was a concussion grenade) on the water protectors who simply stayed standing or sitting in the river.

A boat with several heavily armed SWAT officers repeatedly tried to maneuver behind the group of water protectors near the shore. Water protectors used logs and rope to prevent their advance, and ferried people and supplies back and forth across the water using rope lines attached to canoes.

Law enforcement who were occupying the sacred site repeatedly threatened water protectors with arrest and said that the Army Corps of Engineers had authorized them to make arrests on Army Corps land.

Unicorn Riot has reached out to both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice to confirm or deny this claim by Morton County and as of yet have received no answer.

Eventually, all the water protectors returned to the Oceti Sakowin camp side of the river without arrest. One person was later reported to have been arrested on conspiracy charges for transporting canoes around the time of the river crossing.

On Tuesday, when asked about the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Obama said in an interview with Now This, that, "We're gonna let it play out for several more few weeks" and mentioned that the Army Corps of Engineers may consider re-routing the pipeline.

In the meantime, the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to aggressively build, guarded by large force of private mercenaries as well as local and state police, including dozens from surrounding states.

On Tuesday, an emergency commission met in the office of North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and voted to borrow an additional $4 million to fund law enforcement deployments to protect the Dakota Access Pipeline against water protectors, saying that the original $6 million in funding had run out. This brings the total line of credit extended to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services to $10 million. Officials say at least $8 million in costs have been incurred so far.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Unicorn Riot.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less