Oceti Sakowin, ND – As water protectors dig in for the winter near construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), many rumors have been circulating about whether DAPL was in fact going to halt construction, as had been requested by the Department of Justice and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September.
Many claims have been made that the Army Corps of Engineers, in negotiations with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, had ordered a 30-day pause on DAPL construction. As we reported on Sunday, the Army Corps has in fact clarified that the 30-day halt was “only a proposal” and no work stoppage has been implemented.
On Monday, November 7th, Unicorn Riot documented active DAPL construction that could be seen from the main Oceti Sakowin encampment.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 7, 2016
The afternoon of November 8th, 2016, as the US Presidential election was well underway, Dakota Access, LLC released a statement denying recent claims from the Army Corps of Engineers that they had agreed to a slowdown in pipeline construction.
Dakota Access also claims a public statement made by the Army Corps was “a mistake and the Army Corps intends to rescind it.”
Dakota Access, LLC had previously made a statement announcing that eviction would take place of the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty camp which had been set up directly in the path of the pipeline.
The appearance of Dakota Access making public statements which accurately predicted police actions was denounced in an article by Sarah Lazare at Alternet as “clear evidence” of “outrageous militarized police collusion with Big Oil.”
The statement by Dakota Access, LLC goes on to claim that they have “completed construction of the pipeline on each side of Lake Oahe” and states that they are “currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site.”
Below you can see drone footage of Dakota Access machines building Hesco barriers, normally used to protect US military bases in war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan, to protect an area believed to be the drill box site from water protectors.
According to the release, Dakota Access expects to have fully mobilized all equipment needed to drill under the Missouri River within 2 weeks. Once all the equipment is in place at the construction site, Dakota Access plans to immediately commence horizontal drilling underneath the river.
Dakota Access, LLC closes their statement by admitting their company is still waiting on two construction permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to start the process of drilling underneath the Missouri River.
Below is the full public statement by Dakota Access, LLC.
The Dakota Access, LLC statement is reported to be in response to a comment given to Bloomberg News on Monday, in which an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman claimed that DAPL had agreed to slow down construction.
In an interview with NowThis on November 2nd, when asked about the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Barack Obama said “we’re gonna let it play out for several more weeks.”
Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine mentioned in a recent interview the possibility of re-routing the pipeline, which Dakota Access now seems to have repudiated as a possible outcome. DAPL spokeswoman Vicki Granado told the Guardian:
“We are not aware that any consideration is being given to a reroute, and we remain confident we will receive our easement in a timely fashion.” – Vicki Granado, DAPL spokesperson
Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, reacted to DAPL’s plan to openly pursue drilling:
“Starting construction without permits would be beyond the pale, even for Dakota Access. It is deeply irresponsible to keep putting investors’ money into this route when both the President and Senator Tim Kaine are openly discussing rerouting away from Lake Oahe.” – Jan Hasselman, Attorney
Tuesday’s comments from Dakota Access appear intended to reassure investors who may be starting to have doubts about funding the pipeline project. It was reported earlier this week that Norweigan bank DNB was considering withdrawing its loan of $342.36 million to Energy Transfer Partners – almost 10 percent of the total funding for the pipeline.
DNB issued a statement on their website expressing concern:
“DNB is concerned about how the situation surrounding the oil pipeline in North Dakota has developed. The bank will therefore use its position as lender to the project to encourage a more constructive process to find solutions to the conflict that has arisen. If these initiatives do not provide DNB with the necessary comfort, DNB will evaluate its further participation in the financing of the project.” – DNB statement
On Tuesday, it was announced that the North Dakota Public Service Commission has proposed fining Dakota Access, LLC $15,000 for failing to properly notify state agencies of ancient cultural artifacts discovered at pipeline work sites. Dakota Access is alleged to have violated the terms of its permits by not properly announcing artifact discoveries, as well as by changing the pipeline route without seeking the permission of the Public Service Commission.
UPDATE: – On the evening of Wednesday, November 9, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a statement by Colonel John Henderson, responding to DAPL’s public comments the day before. The Corps reiterates that DAPL had ignored requests made by the federal government to voluntarily pause construction. The references made by Col. Henderson to “meeting with tribal leadership to…proactively…diffuse tensions” would appear to confirm that officials from some tribal governments have been collaborating with the Army Corps and law enforcement. In the weeks since the military police eviction of the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty camp on October 27, security teams claiming to act on behalf of tribal officials have repeatedly formed lines to keep people in camp from demonstrating on the front line on Highway 1806.
Read the full statement below:
Unicorn Riot will continue to regularly provide direct updates about resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Follow our media on Twitter, Facebook, and our website for more information surrounding the ongoing struggles against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
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Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle #NoDAPL from early summer 2016 to present:
March – May 2016
- March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.
- April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“.
- May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“.
- May 27th, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, a #NoDAPL solidarity action took place at MN Enbridge office
- October 3rd-4th saw the “Toxic Tour,” Governor debate disruption, and water protectors attend their court arraignment
- October 4, we learned North Dakota Governor Dalrymple’s email inbox was full of support for #NoDAPL
- October 5, Buffer Zone Holds as Caravans Continue to Disrupt DAPL – New Felony Charges
- October 7, 6 Arrested in Iowa #NoDAPL Action, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 8, Iowa Water Protectors Blockade DAPL Drill Site Twice in 24 Hours
- October 9, Federal Appeals Court Rules to Allow DAPL Construction
- October 10, 27 Arrests After Water Protectors Pray at DAPL Site on Indigenous People’s Day
- October 12, Lockdown Stops DAPL Construction in Iowa, 3 Arrested, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 14, Emails Show North Dakota Budget Bureaucracy Behind #NoDAPL Policing
- October 16, Direct Actions Continue to Stop DAPL Construction in Iowa and North Dakota
- October 17, Four Unicorn Riot Journalists Face Charges For Covering #NoDAPL
- October 17, Water Protectors Blockade Highway in Bismarck, Some Charges Dropped
- October 20, As DAPL Construction Advances, Water Protectors Continue Direct Action
- October 22, Water Protectors’ Prayer Walk Ends up with 127 Arrests, Including Unicorn Riot Journalist
- October 23, Law Enforcement Attack Private Drone as Water Protectors Erect Blockade & New Winter Camp
- October 24, Mississippi Stand Blockades Iowa DAPL Drill Waste Site, Drilling Stops
- October 25, Records Release: Morton County’s Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement
- Hundreds Flood Minneapolis City Hall to Demand Local Sheriff Withdraw from North Dakota
- October 26, Tensions Rise as Pipeline Construction Nears #NoDAPL Blockade
- October 27, Police and Military Attack Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp
- November 1, #NoDAPL Solidarity Rally & Sit-In in Minneapolis Prods Sheriff into Removing Deputies
- November 1, DAPL Resistance Continues Despite Advancing Construction
- November 2, Police Attack Water Protectors Defending Sacred Sites
- November 5, DAPL Construction Nears US Army Corps Land While Still Lacking Permits
- November 6, Water Protectors Attempt to Reclaim Sacred Burial Site, Demonstrate in Cemetery