Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Why Dakota Is the New Keystone - by Bill McKibben - The New York Times

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters facing police officers in North Dakota this month. (Credit: Terray Sylvester/Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
The Native Americans who have spent the last months in peaceful protest against an oil pipeline along the banks of the Missouri are standing up for tribal rights. They’re also standing up for clean water, environmental justice and a working climate.  And it’s time that everyone else joined in.
Those heroes on the Standing Rock reservation, sometimes on horseback, have peacefully stood up to police dogs, pepper spray and the bizarre-looking militarized tanks and SWAT teams that are the stuff of modern policing. (Modern and old-fashioned both:  The pictures of German shepherds attacking are all too reminiscent of photos from, say, Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.)

In coming weeks, activists will respond to calls from the leaders at Standing Rock by gathering at the offices of banks funding the pipeline, and at the offices of the Army Corps of Engineers, for protest and civil disobedience.  Two dozen big banks have lent money to the pipeline project, even though many of them have also adopted elaborate environmental codes.  As for the Corps, that’s the agency that helped “expedite” the approval of the pipeline — and must still grant the final few permits.

The vast movement of people across the country who mobilized to block fossil-fuel projects like the Keystone pipeline and Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic need to gather once more. This time, their message must be broader still.

There are at least two grounds for demanding a full environmental review of this pipeline, instead of the fast-track approvals it has received so far.  The first is the obvious environmental racism of the whole project.
This is precisely the kind of project that climate science tells us can no longer be tolerated.  In midsummer, the Obama administration promised that henceforth there would be a climate test for new projects before they could be approved.  That promise was codified in the Democratic platform approved by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which says there will be no approval for any project that “significantly exacerbates” global warming.

Read more at Why Dakota Is the New Keystone

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