Thousands of Veterans: Dakota Access Pipeline 'Will Not Get Completed'
"Thousands" of U.S. military veterans and volunteers are readying their return to Standing Rock as President Donald Trump tries to move the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) forward and clashes between law enforcement and Water Protectors continue to break out.
"We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch," Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand, told CNBC.
#VetStand #SelflessService #StandingRock #Deployment photo credit @lizhinelin1 https://t.co/mTllZ5l8D9— Vet Action Network (@Vet Action Network)1480746206.0
In early December, Veterans Stand mobilized more than 2,000 veteran to descend upon Standing Rock, North Dakota. The vets volunteered to act as peaceful human shields for Water Protectors who were facing increasingly violent confrontations and mass arrests from heavily militarized police.
As it happened, their arrival coincided with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denying a key easement for the pipeline to travel under Lake Oahe. The corps' decision temporarily halted pipeline construction to allow time for an Environmental Impact Study.
Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors https://t.co/rAF6PLVv0d @ChiefTheresa @BoldNebraska— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1480899005.0
However, with Trump now in office, the $3.7 billion project has found new legs. Last week, the president issued executive orders to "review and approve" the DAPL as well as the long-contested Keystone XL in "an expedited manner." He also asked the corps to reconsider the environmental review.
To make matters worse for pipeline opponents, Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) separately claimed that the final easement for the DAPL has already been granted even though the Standing Rock Sioux said they had not received notice that the easement was granted, calling the lawmakers' claims "premature."
Army Corps Ordered to Issue Final Easement for #DakotaAccessPipeline, Two Lawmakers Say https://t.co/NcP0amfhL3 @IENearth @NRDC @MarkRuffalo— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1485958477.0
In light of recent news, Veterans Stand launched a new crowdfunding campaign to continue their commitment of protecting their "indigenous brothers and sisters" and possibly mobilizing again.
The group has already raised more than $110,000 in less than a week from nearly 2,000 donors. The plan is to reach $500,000. Part of the money will go to "basic transport of supplies and personnel," Diggs told CNBC.
"We have had thousands of volunteers reconfirm their dedication to the cause, and readiness to help," the group said. "The success of our fundraising campaign will ultimately dictate out overall potential for a boots-on-the-ground presence but our learnings from the first mission in December have allowed us to create the right infrastructure to move quickly."
#VetStand Official response to news of easement approval and increased tensions at #StandingRock #NoDAPL Pls Share… https://t.co/muiDwFXu43— Vet Action Network (@Vet Action Network)1485983988.0
Just this week, police arrested 76 Water Protectors for allegedly trespassing on private property owned by the pipeline operator. Video footage showed several officers arriving to the scene in armored vehicles. Officers wore riot gear and some carried arms.
76 Arrested at #StandingRock as #Trump Tries to Move #DAPL Forward https://t.co/SvRGc03TDJ @IENearth @HonorTheEarth @350 @billmckibben— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1486143536.0
The demonstrators said they were peacefully assembling at the newly erected "Last Child" camp.
"A lot of water protectors really felt that we needed to make some sort of stand as far as treaty rights," said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation told The Guardian. "We basically started to see police mobilizing from all directions. Someone came along and told us we had about 15 minutes before the camp would get raided."
"There were a lot of people who felt like the prospect of treaty rights was something worth getting arrested over," she added.
For months, Water Protectors have been trying to block the highly contested pipeline which they say violates sovereign treaty rights and the pipeline's path could cross a vital source of drinking water.
As Veterans Stand said in their statement, "Given the current news reports of escalations in timelines for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and increased security forces we are left asking, how can something good for America when it disregards due process of law, risking our civil liberties and essential natural resources?"
"We believe that human rights and the sustainability of the environment come before the opportunity to profit."
5 Disturbing DAPL Developments You Need to Know https://t.co/naKM5PSb8k @KXLBlockade @BoldNebraska— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1484961006.0
A report from The Free Thought Project suggests that officials from both the U.S. government and indigenous tribes have been emboldened by Trump's orders to push the pipeline forward.
On Thursday, officials from the ATF, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Standing Rock division of Fish and Wildlife, tribal police, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reportedly showed up at the Camp of the Sacred Stones—the original DAPL protest campsite. According to the report, the officials refused to offer a warrant or explanation for the sudden appearance.
Johnny Dangers, who has resided in the camps, captured the visit in a livestream video, calling it a "raid."
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Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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