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[…] There is more than just a $3.9 billion pipeline at stake here. This is about constitutional rights, and human rights. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, Governor Dalrymple seeks to spend over $7.8 million militarizing the state to put down the Lakota and their allies. This is not going to happen. We are a strong and principled people. As of today, 69 people have been arrested, including Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II and Councilmember Dana Yellowfat. The people have physically stopped construction for weeks. And the battle is just beginning. I am watching history repeat itself, and wondering how badly Dalrymple really wants that pipeline.
This is our plan: Three of Honor the Earth’s primary staff have essentially moved to Standing Rock to support the frontlines and ensure a multi-dimensional campaign. We continue to provide legal strategies and counsel, and campaign coordination. And we continue to work on the future. This tribe does not need a new pipeline, they need energy infrastructure that actually serves its people. After all, three years ago Debbie Dogskin, a Standing Rock resident, froze to death because she could not pay her propane bill. That is the reality here.
With an 85% drop in active oil rigs in the Bakken oil fields, there is no need for this pipeline. It is a pipeline from nowhere. Here’s what true energy independence would look like: With $3.9 billion equally divided, we could install 65,000 typical 5kw residential rooftop PV systems, each supplying about half of the home’s electricity needs; install 325 2MW utility scale wind towers that would generate over 3.5 billion kwh per year; and provide 160,000 homes with $8000 efficiency retrofit packages, saving $300/yr/home. That would produce jobs, most of them local.
We are supporting Standing Rock as they fight this pipeline, but we are also helping to create a new future. We plan to install 20 solar thermal panels on tribal houses at Standing Rock, beginning to address fuel poverty on the reservation.