While yesterday’s announcement that the corporate forces behind the Dakota Access pipeline will not promptly receive the easement they need to complete the pipeline was heartening and worthy of celebration, we are very concerned about the narrative of false victory that once again threatens the momentum of this Native struggle.
What You Need to Know
The easement was not permanently denied. It has been denied pending an environmental impact statement. While the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to delay the easement, pending an environmental impact statement, may buy the Water Protectors precious time, it is a not a resolution. It is a maneuver that pushes the PR nightmare of this struggle beyond the bounds of Obama’s presidency — and that has once again won him accolades for merely kicking the can down the road — it offers no practical or political finality for those impacted by DAPL.
In pending litigation, Energy Transfer Partners has already leveled claims that it has met all legal requirements, and that the easement is nothing but a formality. While it appears unlikely that the Obama administration will back off of its current position, we have every reason to be believe that this progress will be reversed the moment Trump takes office.
Within the last 24 hours, Trump has made opening up Indian Country to further extraction efforts a stated priority. This development, alongside yesterday’s political progress, should not be read as a coincidence or as a separate news item. During his campaign, Trump actually went so far as to campaign in Bismarck — the 90 percent white capital of North Dakota, from which the pipeline was rerouted — and declare support for projects like DAPL.
The truth is, every argument being offered, which suggests that the battle is won, has been deconstructed or shown to be much shakier than many believe.
For this reason, our friends and allies on the ground in Standing Rock have told us that it is “business as usual” for them out there. With almost ten thousand supporters holding space together, in opposition to this pipeline, it is imperative that we not allow our desire for a happy ending to hamper their momentum.
What You Can Do
It is likely that this movement has extracted as much cooperation as it is going to from the current administration. So while we do not speak for the movement as a whole by any means, Lifted Voices is extending the following asks to our supporters and co-strugglers:
Continue to target financial institutions. Numerous contracts related to this pipeline will expire on January 1 — a deadline by which Energy Transfer Partners promised their investors that oil would be flowing through the pipeline. That means that a question mark has been created, and can be made larger, as to whether this pipeline is worth the money the Big Banks are spending on it.
The divestment strategy has already seen some successes, and Wells Fargo, a bank that has been a central target of these campaigns, has begun to show signs of weakness. This is a time to turn up the heat. Continue to target these banks with direct action, as we did in November and on December 1.
War dial the offices of these institutions, bombard them with emails, and continue to move your money.
Remember, it’s not over until the banks drop out. So help Protectors around the country shove those banks until they move. Rally together a group of friends and disrupt or shutdown a bank. Contact every bank funding the pipeline relentlessly to express disapproval. And if you haven’t yet, move your money — because money talks, and it’s the only language our opposition understands.
To join these efforts:
Check out this list of targeted institutions.
Contact complicit banking institutions.
And learn more about moving your money.
If you are part of this resistance, stay angry and active. If you have yet to join, this fight needs you now more than ever. With Trump’s reign inching closer, we can take nothing for granted. So let’s continue to fight and to build the bonds that will pull us all forward.