Quantcast

South Dakota County Secures More Jail Cells to Prepare for KXL Pipeline Protests

Popular

A local teacher is arrested while staging a peaceful sit-in at TransCanada HQ in protest of Keystone XL.

Becky Bond / NoKXL / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Officials from a South Dakota county secured more jail cells to prepare for potential protests of the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

Last month, the Butte County Commission in South Dakota approved an agreement to use Faulk County jails for $85 per day per detainee, should the demonstrations go ahead and if protestors are arrested. Faulk County is roughly 270 miles east of Butte County.


The KXL's planned route will cross through the northeastern corner of Butte County.

"The only reason we did it was kind of an insurance thing," Butte County Commissioner Stan Harms said Monday, as quoted by the Rapid City Journal. "We don't have a jail in Butte County. We normally use Sturgis, and if we can't get in there, the overflow goes to Deadwood or Rapid City. Now, we have Faulk County in case everything is full up."

The arrangement was made even though a federal judge blocked construction of the long-gestating project in November.

Despite the judge's orders, TransCanada plans to start construction on the $8 million tube this year, according to the AP. The developer remains "committed" to building the 1,179-mile pipeline designed to carry 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil from Alberta to Nebraska.

Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere said TransCanada also plans to start construction in four different locations simultaneously as a way to spread out potential protest camps, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.

The KXL has been at the center of a contentious fight for a decade. Pipeline opponents and indigenous peoples worry that its path would cross drinking water sources and treaty territories.

President Obama rejected the pipeline in 2015 partly due to concerns about its contribution to climate change, but President Trump reversed the decision shortly after taking office.

But in November, Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana temporarily halted the project and ruled that the State Department needed to write a supplement to the 2014 environmental impact statement that the Trump administration relied on to approve the pipeline. The new statement must take into account the risks posed by the project: oil spills, damage to indigenous resources and climate change.

Trump called Morris' ruling a "disgrace" and suggested that his administration intends to appeal, CNN reported.

"It's a political decision made by a judge. I think it's a disgrace. 48,000 jobs, I approved it, it's ready to start," he told reporters.

The Guardian reported in September that law enforcement officials are anticipating possible Standing Rock-style protests against the KXL, citing documents from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Montana.

The ACLU obtained a report showing that state and federal agencies may be spying on potential protesters and characterized pipeline opponents as "extremists" intent on "criminal disruptions and violent incidents" and warned of potential "terrorism."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new study shows that half of all Arctic warming and corresponding sea-loss during the late 20th century was caused by ozone-depleting substances. Here, icebergs discharged from Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier. Kevin Krajick / Earth Institute / EurekAlert!

The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.

Read More
Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

Read More
Sponsored

By Simon Coghlan and Kobi Leins

A remarkable combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology has produced the world's first "living robots."

Read More
Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front 2nd L) and officials inspect a container containing plastic waste shipment on Jan. 20, 2020 before sending back to the countries of origin. AFP via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

Read More
Trump leaves after delivering a speech at the Congress Centre during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 21, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the concerns of environmental activists as "pessimism" in a speech to political and business leaders at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.

Read More