Brandon Ecoffey at The Lakota Country Times has a good article up about the current fight against Dakota Access pipeline.
For many Americans the fact that the poorest people in the United States have promised to lay their lives down to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is a bewildering experience. The shock that comes along with the realization that the Oceti Sakowin have come together once again as a united front against one of this country’s most powerful lobbies should come as no surprise for we have been fighting big industry since the arrival of colonial powers in the western hemisphere.
Native people of this country have both experienced and resisted the will of corporations for the entirety of our shared history. We saw the devastation that came with the early fur trade that began with beaver pelts that were eventually replaced by buffalo robes. We witnessed the atrocities that accompanied the powerful cotton lobby and their thirst for slave labor and cheap lands. We foresaw the arrival of settlers in the heart of Lakota Country, who came to take gold from our most sacred lands. Today, the “Horse Nations” are prepared for yet another battle against corporate powers and their allies in the United States Congress.
Most Americans have been taught to believe that the federal government and our elected officials have been put in place to protect our freedoms and way of life. For Native people the truth is the opposite. Since the inception of this republic the policies drafted regarding us have been crafted to take from us our culture or the resources we live on. For these reasons we are conditioned to question all that is offered us by both the government and big oil.
There are two promises that have been made by the oil industry that have proven to be categorically false.
The first being that improved technology will prevent spills. Since man first decided to ship fossil fuels through pipelines there has been consistent and proven examples that they will one day leak. It is also true that oil shipped from the Canadian Tar Sands is of a quality that breaks down the internal lining of a pipeline faster than other forms. Canadian Tar Sands oil is nothing like the flowing black oil that you see being produced in places like Saudi Arabia. The substance that would be shipped from Canada across treaty lands to refineries prior to being exported to places like China is similar in consistency to peanut butter. A study from the National Academy of Sciences looked at the impacts of diluted bitumen leaked into the environment and found that tar sands diluted bitumen when spilled into water sinks. Current cleanup technology is designed to have clean up oil spills where the substance would float on the surface of water. This same panel noted that cleanup would be nearly impossible with today’s current technology.
The second lie being told and repeated as an argument in favor of the construction is that the project would add thousands of jobs to the market. It is true that temporary construction jobs would be made available to laborers who would flock to this part of the country, but once completed these jobs will dry up as the oil companies have already bragged about their state of the art computerized monitoring system. A computer will maintain the pipeline, not people. We can look across the globe for examples of oil companies developing untouched lands by promising cheap labor. Nigeria is a prime example as big oil monopolized both lands and product prior to leaving locals with nothing.
In today’s society the interests of the everyday American coincide with that of Native people as we resist the expanding power of corporate American into our daily lives. So many have asked when the time will come when the common people will stand up to these powers. That day has arrived as the people of the Oceti Sakowin mounted their horses and have agreed to meet the enemy just outside of Cannonball, ND.
Cleaning up spills is already a nightmare. Now, no ability to clean this shit up? We cannot let this happen, we cannot let this stand. If those who are so damn greedy insist on this, they should be forced into accountability, responsibility, and prevention measures equal to that greed. That should keep them busy for a while. Brandon’s article was reproduced in full here because Lakota Country Times is subscription only. The article can be accessed for free after 30 days.
Speaking of spills:
Oil spill northwest of Belfield. N.D. CREDIT: NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.
An oil leak in North Dakota is seeping from a hillside and is thousands of gallons larger than initially reported last month, state officials say.
About 504 barrels of oil or more than 20,000 gallons of the highly polluting substance have been recovered since the line leak occurred July 19, the North Dakota Department of Health said in a press release Friday.
The company, Texas-based Denbury Onshore LLC, first said the equivalent of two barrels of oil had been spilled at a facility in the western town of Belfield. But state investigations found the spillage is considerably larger.
Karl Rockeman, director of the Division of Water Quality, said to the Grand Forks Herald Friday that oil was seeping out of a hillside in multiple locations. The actual size of the spill is still undetermined and current figures may also be inaccurate. “It may be larger than that yet as well,” Rockeman said referring to the most recent estimates.
It is unclear whether latest oil spill has reached the groundwater. The investigation and remediation is ongoing, the state said. The Grand Forks Herald said that spills have been reported at the same Denbury site in 2006, 2010, and 2014. The cause of the most recent spill is listed as a failure of an underground flow line.
Other Denbury Onshore LLC sites have spilled in North Dakota in recent months. Just in May, pastureland in the northwest had to be excavated after more than 120,000 gallons of oil and drilling wastewater overflowed from a company’s tank.
Full story here.
Dakota Access Pipeline Standoff. – Feds Grant TRO Against Standing Rock Members. – Dakota Access Protest: We’re being sued – help us fight it! – Dakota Access Standoff Calls on Obama. – Among Those Arrested… – Sacred Stone Camp: Calling Water Warriors!