December 6, 2016

It’s Not Over at Standing Rock.

After months of peaceful protests by water protectors at Standing Rock, many people are crying victory tears following the Army’s announcement that it will delay the permit that would allow Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners to lay the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.

Initially, it was thought to be a big success for the protectors, who had been met, at times, with violent resistance by militarized police, including torture by water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades.

As much as we all want to cheer for this latest declaration, it’s too early to celebrate.

In fact, it is likely not a victory at all. Not only have the pipeline companies said they will not comply with the Army’s order, but this latest announcement is only a delay tactic that will likely be overturned when Trump, who has pledged to support the oil companies, takes office.

The permit to dig has not been denied, it has only been delayed pending a thorough environmental study. This is a subtle but important distinction. Trump will have the power, with the stroke of a pen, to eliminate the requirement for a thorough study, and it is more than likely he will do that.

What’s more, because it comes just as the first major winter blizzard is striking North Dakota, it isn’t really delaying anything at all. The ground will now be frozen solid, and the likelihood that it would even be possible to finish the pipeline by the January 1, 2017 deadline is slim to none.

Even so—and this is the clincher—Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners have now issued a joint statement saying that they plan to move ahead with the pipeline as planned, regardless of their lack of permit.

According to the statement:

“As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”

The likely penalty for completing the pipeline without a permit is a relatively small fine. The exact amount has been difficult to substantiate, and vetting sources has proven to be difficult, but $50,000 per day is the amount most commonly repeated by many independent journalism sources. That’s a pittance compared to the billions that oil companies stand to gain.

This fight is not over. It is too early to celebrate. We must continue to #StandWithStandingRock for them, and for us all.

People and the environment must come before profits, and the fight is not over.




Author: Amanda Christmann

Image: Instagram

Editor: Travis May

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