While the nation was focused on voting and the aftermath of the election, the protests continued at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As we previously discussed, the Army Corps of Engineers did a reversal of their previous decision and said that final approval of the construction route (which they already gave final approval to previously) would require additional input from the tribes. The developer, Energy Transfer Partners LP, has apparently grown fed up with the conflicting guidance and answers from Washington and stated this weekend that enough was enough. The route has been approved and it’s not going to move.
Energy Transfer Partners LP Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren said the company will not consider rerouting its Dakota Access oil pipeline despite concerns voiced by U.S. native groups, according to an Associated Press interview published on Friday.
President Barack Obama said earlier this month that the government was examining ways to reroute the pipeline.
Energy Transfer did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment. Warren did tell the AP that he would like to meet with tribal leaders to ease their concerns about the project.
While all this was going on, the protests have continued to take one violent turn after another. When the largely imported protesters continued to block highways and damage construction equipment, officials took to using water cannons to disburse them and clear a path. That’s not normally a terribly worrisome tactic, but when you get soaked down in North Dakota in November and the temperature is hovering around 23 degrees, well… let’s just say it might make you reexamine your lifestyle choices a bit.
But that didn’t stop the protesters from fighting back. Things once again got out of hand, with violence erupting. This led to one woman nearly getting her arm blown off (literally) when an explosion took place behind the protesters’ blockade. (NY Daily News)
A New Yorker was hospitalized with a gruesome injury while protesting the Dakota Access pipeline on North Dakota’s Standing Rock Reservation, activists say.
The woman — identified by activists as 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky — could lose her left arm after a Monday explosion behind the protest blockade near Cannon Ball tore through her winter jacket and skin, exposing bone.
The Bronx woman was airlifted nearly 400 miles to the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis following the 4 a.m. incident, said Wilansky’s friend and fellow activist Vaimoana Niumeitolu.
The protesters are claiming that it was a concussion grenade launched by law enforcement which injured her, but the local sheriff claims that they weren’t using anything like that and that the protesters had been hurling “fuel canisters” at them. (Can we all say “Molotov Cocktail” here?) It’s a he said she said situation so far, but this isn’t the first time Ms. Wilansky has been on the front lines of protests. In June she was arrested while protesting a different pipeline in Vermont.
One has to wonder where she finds the time to travel to all of these far flung sites and battle the authorities and how it hasn’t impacted her day job thus far.