Quantcast
Popular
Avenger missile launcher nearby DAPL work site. Facebook/Jon Ziegler

5 Disturbing DAPL Developments You Need to Know

The fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) wages on. Just this week law enforcement used tear gas and fired bean-bag rounds to disperse crowds and arrested nearly 40 people since Monday, the Billings Gazette reported. One Water Protector appears to have suffered a nasty wound in his leg after an alleged confrontation with an officer on Thursday (warning, the photo is graphic).

But that's not the only concerning news story developing around the controversial project.

1. National Guard Deploys "Observational" Missile Launchers

The non-violent protests that kicked off in the Spring have been marked by increasingly violent showdowns between the Standing Rock Sioux and their fellow Water Protectors versus militarized law enforcement.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that the North Dakota National Guard had sent two Avenger missile launchers near a critical work site near the pipeline. National Guard spokesman William Prokopyk told the Daily Beast the missiles were unloaded and had no authorization to be loaded. The Morton County Sheriff's Department also confirmed these missiles in a Facebook post, saying they were "strictly for observation of ungoverned encampments to help protect private property and maintain public safety."

The Daily Beast notes that the Avenger is "foremost a weapon of war" that "combines a Humvee truck chassis with a rotating turret that can be armed with eight Stinger missiles and a .50-caliber machine gun."

2. North Dakota Bill Would Protect Motorists Who "Unintentionally Cause Injury or Death" to Protestors

State Rep. Keith Kempenich has introduced a bill that says a driver "who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense."

Kempenich's said the bill is the result of his mother-in-law being inconvenienced while driving through protests. Apparently, she was driving past a long line of cars parked along shoulder of the road when a protester jumped in front of her car waving a sign.

"There's a line between protesting and terrorism, and what we're dealing with was terrorism out there," Kempenich told The Washington Post. "[Drivers] who were legally doing their business or just going home and all of a sudden they're in a situation they don't want to be in."

3. DAPL Company Tried to Block Environmental Study

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a key easement in December for the pipeline to travel under Lake Oahe and recently announced plans to prepare a full environmental impact study on the Oahe crossing that could take two years to complete, the company building the $3.8 billion project is determined to finish it.

On Jan. 17, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to stop the corps from publishing a notice announcing the study in the Federal Register.

The Bismarck Tribune reported:

ETP wants any further study put on hold until Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe—the reservoir that's the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

ETP wants to block further study so that the decision on the permitting, which is likely weeks away, will be "free from the risk that its ruling will be frustrated or thwarted by new governmental actions." The corps did not immediately respond to ETP's request.

4. Company Engaged in Deceit and Fraud in Acquiring Land Easements, Lawsuit Claims

Some two dozen landowners in Morton County, North Dakota, have filed a lawsuit this month in U.S. District Court against Dakota Access. The group seeks more than $4 million in damages.

The Associated Press writes:

Those suing say Dakota Access engaged in unfair tactics and fraud while negotiating to lay pipeline on private land, resulting in compensation that was as much as nine times lower than what other landowners got. Landowners also allege they were told if they didn't agree to the offered amount, they faced losing money or getting nothing either because their land would be condemned through eminent domain or the pipeline would be moved elsewhere.

"Dakota Access's representations to the Morton County landowners were false representations and deceptive," the lawsuit states. The company has until about the end of the month to file its response in court.

Energy Transfer Partners contends the allegations "are without merit," company spokeswoman Vicki Granado said, adding that the landowners who are suing represent only about 3 percent of the 800 North Dakota landowners who provided easements to Dakota Access.

5. DAPL Likely Rolling Full Speed Ahead Under President Trump

Donald Trump, who has personal investments in the DAPL, has formally announced his support of the project. Some of his main priorities after being sworn in on Jan. 20 are, according to Bloomberg, "nullifying President Barack Obama's guidelines that federal agencies weigh climate change when approving pipelines, deciding what areas to open for drilling or taking other major actions, two people familiar with Trump's transition planning say."

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, also told NPR that the Trump administration could give a green light to energy infrastructure projects blocked by Obama's executive actions.

"Things like Keystone XL pipeline, Dakota Access pipeline," Gerard said, "we expect he'll take some early action on a variety of those fronts to really free us up and allow us to achieve our energy potential."

Water Protectors at the protest campsite have noticed desperation and declining morale due to the new Republican president, according to Billings Gazette. As one demonstrator told the publication, "There's a very real possibility that once the new president is inaugurated, our voices won't matter."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Animals
Lake Baikal. W0zny / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Wildlife Under Siege at the World’s Oldest Lake

By Marlene Cimons

Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake. It's at least 20 million years old, and roughly a mile deep at its lowest point. The Siberian lake contains holds more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined, what amounts to more than one-fifth of all the water found in lakes, swamps and rivers. It was formed by the shifting of tectonic plates, which created a valley that filled with water. That shift continues today at a rate of around 1 to 2 centimeters year, meaning the world's biggest lake is only getting bigger.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Oil rig operating next to a walk and bike way in the Signal Hill area of Los Angeles. Sarah Craig / Faces of Fracking / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Is Drilling Us Towards Climate Disaster

By Kelly Trout

As the 116th Congress commences, in the wake of dire reports from climate scientists, the debate over U.S. climate policies has taken a welcome turn towards bold solutions. Spurred on by grassroots pressure from Indigenous communities, the youth-led Sunrise Movement and communities from coast to coast fighting fossil fuel infrastructure, Capitol Hill is alive once again with policy proposals that edge towards the scale required to address the crisis we're in.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Bumblebee on goldenrod. Jim Hudgins / USFWS

Half of Michigan's Bumblebee Species in Decline, One Extinct

Honeybees get a lot of attention for their worrisome decline, but many species of bumblebees—which are key pollinators—are also in trouble.

In Michigan, half of its bumblebee species have declined by 50 percent or more, Michigan Radio reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Bound bales of crushed plastic bottles and containers sit stacked ready to be recycled at a recycling center in the Netherlands. Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Toward a Circular Economy: Tackling the Plastics Recycling Problem

By Margaret Sobkowicz

Why has the world continued to increase consumption of plastic materials when at the same time, environmental and human health concerns over their use have grown?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Oceans
Bleached coral at the Great Barrier Reef. The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Richard Vevers

2018 Was the Hottest Year Ever Recorded for Our Oceans

The year 2018 was the hottest year for the planet's oceans ever since record-keeping began in 1958, according to a worrisome new study from international scientists.

The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, noted that the five warmest years for our oceans were the last five years—2018, 2017, 2015, 2016 and 2014 (in order of decreasing ocean heat content).

Keep reading... Show less
EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler / EPA

Senate Shouldn’t Put Wheeler at the Wheel of the EPA

By Ana Unruh Cohen

As the longest government shut down in history drags on, and the experts protecting our air and water remain off the job, the Senate is barreling forward to put Andrew Wheeler at the wheel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He is unfit for this public trust.

In his seven-month tenure as the acting administrator at EPA, Wheeler's relentlessly pushed to advance the pro-polluter agenda launched by Scott Pruitt, the worst administrator in the agency's storied 48-year history. Wheeler may lack Pruitt's scandals, but he's no improvement.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Westend61 / Getty Images

Top 20 Healthy Salad Toppings

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Salads are typically made by combining lettuce or mixed greens with an assortment of toppings and a dressing.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Shirley Fire, 2014. Stuart Palley

In Nighttime Shots of Massive Wildfires, a Photographer Shows Us the Light

By Patrick Rogers

During the day, freelance photographer Stuart Palley covers news events for publications like the Los Angeles Times and shoots images for advertising and PR clients. By night, he pursues his passion: photographing the wildfires that have been ravaging, with increasing frequency, the forests, grasslands, towns and cities of his native California. Over the past five years, Palley has documented nearly 75 fires, from the Mexican border to the Shasta Trinity National Forest near Oregon.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!