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The 2,000 water protectors who have gathered to oppose the pipeline's construction were met today by the Morton County Sheriff Department, who removed people and their camping gear.
Heavily armed authorities pushed through a supply area for the Water Protectors blockade Thursday. The public witnessed a new level of escalation that day in the Native struggle at Standing Rock, as police swept through an encampment in the direct path of the Dakota Access pipeline. The resulting standoff with the National Guard, and police officers from various states, led to
141 arrests. Advancing authorities attacked Water Protectors with flash grenades, bean bag launchers, pepper spray and Long Range Acoustic Devices. It is crucial that people recognize that Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against colonial violence. The Dakota Access pipeline is a front of struggle in a long-erased war against Native peoples—a war that has been active since first contact, and waged without interruption.
Greenpeace stands in solidarity with and lends full support to the water protectors at Standing Rock, and we recognize the rights and sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux, accorded by the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868. We call on President Obama to use his executive power to revoke the permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline immediately. And we reject the actions of North Dakota law enforcement in favoring the interests of Energy Transfer Partners and the fossil fuel industry over the rights of this land's inhabitants. We join in proclaiming the sacred power of water and the responsibility we have to protect it at all costs. And we urge our government to respect the sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux, whose constitutional right to peacefully protest has been unjustly met by a militarized police force.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct threat to the life, rights and water of the Standing Rock Sioux. It is unconscionable that a militarized force was deployed to serve a massive pipeline to move dirty, fracked oil that would threaten our climate and the life-sustaining water of the Missouri River. And, despite law enforcement's effort to jam video feeds coming out of the camps today, seeing those forces moving against Indigenous people will only galvanize the public rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline and all it stands for.
"While Secretary Clinton brought up clean energy jobs and climate change during the topic of the economy, Donald Trump choked. Climate change is a major factor when talking about immigration, the economy, foreign hot spots, the national debt, and the Supreme Court. The fact that it received seconds of attention from only one candidate is offensive to the American people, particularly those already dealing with the devastating impacts."
Only two percent of the total time in the three debates was spent on climate and energy policy, due mostly to an audience question in the second debate—not a single moderator asked a climate question.
"Yet, the fact that Hillary Clinton proactively recognized the climate crisis and the need to grow the clean energy economy in each and every debate underlines exactly how clear the choice is this election. Only Hillary Clinton has a plan to tackle the climate crisis and only Hillary Clinton will defend and strengthen our clean air, clean water, and climate safeguards. Meanwhile, we learned that Donald Trump's opinion about the integrity of our elections is the same as his opinion of climate science: he will deny reality, come hell or high water."
For a deeper dive:
Vox, Brad Plumer column; New York Times, Paul Krugman column; Grist, Emma Foehringer Merchant column; Mashable, Andrew Freedman column; Huffington Post, Kate Sheppard column; Guardian, Oliver Milman analysis; New York Times, David Leonhardt column; ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column; Discover, Tom Yulsman column; Fusion, Ari Phillips column; USA Today editorial; Engadget, Mat Smith column; Bustle, Cheyna Roth column
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in St. Louis last night for the 2nd Presidential Debate moderated by Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC. It wasn't until the bitter end that the issue of energy and climate change came into the discussion when Town Hall participant Ken Bone asked:
"What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"
"Absolutely. I think it's such a great question, because energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Under absolute siege. The EPA—the Environmental Protection Agency—is killing these energy companies. And foreign companies are now coming in, buying so many of our different plants and then rejiggering the plant so they can take care of their oil. We are killing, absolutely killing our energy business in this country."
Thanks to NPR's Scott Horsley, we find Trump's response skewed. Horsley noted, while fact checking Trump's response:
Domestic oil and gas production have increased steadily during President Obama's time in office. The U.S. has been the world's leading producer of natural gas since 2011 and the top producer of oil since 2013.
The Energy Information Administration says gasoline prices averaged $2.25 a gallon last week—about seven cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago, and about 20 cents a gallon less than Obama's first year in office.
Clinton's initial response to Bone's question, "We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. And I think that's an important transition," took a hard hit on Twitter:
However, Clinton followed her bridge fuel remarks saying she has "a comprehensive energy policy but it really does include fighting climate change because I think that is a serious problem" and that she supports "moving to more clean and renewable energy as quickly as we can. Because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses."
Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune praised Clinton for her plans. "With each answer tonight, Hillary Clinton showed that she has thought about the challenges facing our country, developed solutions to address them and—as even Donald Trump admitted—she'll never give up fighting for the American people," Brune said.
"By contrast, there is a reason people are fleeing from Donald Trump in droves. Neither his temperament nor his ideas are a match for what the country needs."
Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Annie Leonard showed disappointment at the lack of conversation on climate change during last night's debate.
"In addition to more targeted insults to women, communities of color and immigrants on a regular basis, Donald Trump also insults the entire human race on a daily basis with his aggressive denial and inaction regarding climate change," Leonard said.
"The candidates spent very little time talking about climate change during tonight's debate but it is on the minds of so many Americans, especially as Hurricane Matthew continues to take a heavy toll here and in Haiti," Leonard continued. "Climate change demands the attention of both candidates and their parties, and it is shameful that it was given so little."
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating how ExxonMobil valued its assets during the continuing slump in oil prices and how the company factors in climate risk when pricing its projects.
Minale Tattersfield / Flickr
The SEC requested information and documents from Exxon and the company's auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, in August, as well as documents from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's similar investigation of the company. Exxon has been under increasing government scrutiny since multiple reports revealed the oil giant may have misled the public about the dangers of climate change.
"This is a remarkably important development—the federal government is joining the courageous state attorneys general, and they're all following the trail of clues that began with powerful investigative journalism," Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder, said. "Before they're done we'll understand considerably more about how the world overheated—but in the meantime, every institution that invests in Exxon should take real note of who you're keeping company with."
"This investigation is a welcome opportunity for transparency from the fossil fuel industry," Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard said. "We know Exxon has published projections showing that demand for oil and natural gas will continue growing for decades to come—projections which are flatly incompatible with limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, as called for by the Paris climate accords. What we don't know is how Exxon's balance sheet would change if the world meets the climate challenge."
For a deeper dive:
Thursday was Use Less Stuff Day. It was created to inspire us to rethink the stuff we use. All our stuff—cell phones, clothes, cars, disposable chopsticks, and on and on—comes from somewhere and has to go somewhere when we throw it out. That takes a big toll on the planet, so thinking about how to use less is an excellent idea.
I've written a bunch about the real need to re-think our approach to the holidays and the mad shopping frenzy that comes with them.
When it comes to how we do spend our dollars, the product that jumps immediately to mind as obscenely wasteful, expensive and easily preventable is bottled water.
Let's dig a bit deeper into this. It's true that in some parts of the world the water quality is so poor that it's unsafe for people to drink. There are definitely some places in the U.S. where fracking or petrochemical plants have ruined the local water supply, but even then there are better solutions than forcing the community to buy bottled water! For the most part, tap water in the U.S. is clean, readily available and thousands of times cheaper than the bottled stuff.
A four-year review of the bottled water industry in the U.S. and the safety standards that govern it, including independent testing of over 1,000 bottles of water found that there is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap. In fact tap water is tested more frequently than bottled water.
Where does bottled water come from?
If you take the million-dollar marketing at face value, you'd be forgiven for believing that $2 buys you glacier water from a pristine stream somewhere virtually untouched. In fact, a lot of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is just treated water from our municipal water systems; the same place our tap water comes from.
If that doesn't strike you as ridiculous, here's a really shocking example of where bottled water comes from.
While California's in the middle of a historic drought, Nestle—the largest bottler of water in the world—is drawing millions of gallons of water a year from public lands in the San Bernardino National Forest of Southern California. Using a permit that actually expired in 1988, Nestle is able to take huge amounts of water off public lands while paying the Forest Service just $524 a year. So while California's Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency because of water shortages, Nestle's profiting from the little that's left. Does that make sense to you?
As for the plastic containers that bottled water comes in, plastic's made from oil and there's nothing good about drilling that stuff up. To avoid more drilling, ideally all plastic would get recycled over and over, but that's not what happens.
Less than one-third of plastic bottles in the U.S. currently get recycled. Litter, runoff from poorly managed landfills, and other sources mean that plastic bottles often end up out at sea or polluting our coastlines. This is where some really depressing problems start. Plastic doesn't break down like natural materials—it doesn't go away, it just goes from being a floating bottle to tiny plastic particles that are easily eaten by fish and other marine species or simply spread even further afield. A single one-liter bottle could break down into enough small fragments to put one on every mile of beach in the entire world. Ten to 20 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
Bottled water is just one example of heavily marketed stuff that we could just as easily do without.
As you're planning your holidays with friends or family in the coming week, please try to think before you buy. Will this really make me happier? Could I borrow or share someone else's? Is there a less packaged or non-disposable version of this? Or perhaps I could just do without it altogether?