The protesters, or rather Water Protectors, are getting threatened by several areas. The Corps of Engineers has said they want the camp where they are staying evacuated because of the harsh winter weather. However, they said they would not “forcibly” force the protesters off the land.
The governor of North Dakota has also ordered an evacuation of the land, also citing harsh weather. But, he also said it was for the “safety of the people who live nearby”. Then he said he would block all food and supplies from entering the area of the camp. Finally, he said anyone who does not leave will be faced with a $1000 fine.
As you know, the Water Protectors are protesting the pipeline from going under Lake Oahe. The lake is a reservoir created by a dam on the Missouri River. The lake is also the main source of drinking water for the Standing Rock reservation and an additional 71 million people.
The tribe claims that the pipeline under this lake would potentially cause the pollution of that drinking water. Furthermore, the tribe says that the work would destroy sacred lands. According to reports from the Guardian, some of these lands and sites have already been destroyed by the company.
The pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners LP. President Obama asked the Corps of Engineers to explore an alternate route for the pipeline. The company’s CEO said he would not reroute the pipeline even if the Corps says it should be done.
The help coming is from 2000 veterans. They announced that they would act as “human shields” for the protesters in the event of a forceful evacuation. There has already been plenty of violence during the protests. Most of that violence was initiated by the police and not the protesters. Yes, some protesters have caused sporadic violence, but the vast majority has been initiated by the police.
The veterans plan to be there from December 4 through December 7. The Corps ordered the evacuation by December 5. To add more fuel to this fire, the GOP has finally taken notice. And, as usual, they are blaming the President.
“The ongoing protest activities ― which at times have turned violent ― are being prolonged and intensified by the Obama administration’s refusal to approve the final remaining easement at Lake Oahe,” Sen. John Hoeven said on the Senate floor.
What he is saying is that since the President hasn’t rolled over in favor of the energy company, he is to blame for the violence not the company, state, police, or anyone else. He is basically saying in usual GOP fashion that people don’t have a right to protest if they believe a company is threatening their drinking water.
We are supposed to take the company’s word that “everything will be just fine, believe me.” He along with the governor and the state’s congressman, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), have previously called on Obama to deploy federal law enforcement personnel to subdue the protest activity.
In a letter to the president on November 23 they wrote:
We recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing ― and oftentimes violent ― protest activity. These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.
So far it has been the police escalating the violence. They have been using tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bags, and percussion grenades often without any warning. There have been injuries especially among the protesters because of this activity by police. They have even used water cannons to spray the protesters with water in freezing temperatures.
The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is confident that once Trump takes office his pipeline will be approved. Maybe that is because it turns out that Trump owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners directly and stock in other companies that are partners of Energy Transfer Partners.
The land in question belongs to the Sioux Tribe by treaty. Of course treaties have never meant anything to the government when it comes to Native Americans.
Before it gets tweeted or reported on Fox News the veterans are traveling on their own dime, so to speak. They did raise money to help defray costs and food, but to put it in Trump’s language, they are not “paid protesters” trying to make trouble.
During the campaign Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp”. The very fact that he has ignored this situation at Standing Rock shows me he has no intention of “draining the swamp” but rather using that swamp for his own financial gain.
But, standing in their way are going to be veterans. On their Facebook event page, the group says its aim is to “support our country” and “stop this savage injustice being committed right here at home.” Though their protest will be nonviolent, they urge participants to bring body armor, gas masks, earplugs and shooting mufflers since protesters have been injured by police force. No drugs, alcohol or weapons will be allowed.
If Trump pays attention to this situation, he may learn what integrity, honesty, and duty are really all about. But, I doubt he will learn anything from these men and women.
We all need to support the Standing Rock protests. Please write, call, or email the President asking him to stop the pipeline from going under Lake Oahe. If he doesn’t stop it soon, Trump will give it the go ahead so his stock goes up in value. Drinking water for Native Americans or anyone else doesn’t count as much as dividends.