Recent Developments RE: Courts Rule to Halt KXL and DAPL

July 9, 2020

 

 

Thank you to our allies at Lakota People's Law Project for the following email newsletters:

 

 

7/9/2020:

 

Inconceivable! Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)—the parent company to the Dakota Access Pipeline—just announced that they will ignore Judge James Boasberg’s order to shut down oil flow through the pipeline by August 5th. An ETP spokesperson said in a statement yesterday: “We are not shutting down the line. We believe Judge Boasberg has exceeded his authority and does not have jurisdiction to shut down the pipeline.” Outrageous!

 

Will you stand with us against Big Oil's lawlessness by making a donation today?

 

Perhaps they’re taking their inspiration from the father of the Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson. In response to the 1832 Supreme Court decision that established tribal sovereignty in the U.S. — Worcester vs. Georgia — President Jackson declared: “[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.”

 

 

 

But this is not 1832. And no matter how much Trump may want to do his best Andrew Jackson impersonation, we will not let him. We will not let this corporation, this pipeline, or this President trample on our sovereignty. It’s time to keep Indigenous voices as strong as possible in our collective defense of Mother Earth.

 

In 2016-17, more than ten thousand people of conscience traveled to Standing Rock to exercise grassroots power over commercial disregard for basic rights. We will stand again like this if we have to. And the Lakota Law legal team will explore options for submitting more amicus briefs to support Standing Rock and EarthJustice in court. One way or another, we won’t permit ETP to unilaterally disregard judicial decisions designed to protect Native health and sovereignty on treaty land. We will go toe to toe with Big Oil, and this time we will have the Constitution — not just Natural Law — clearly behind us.

 

Wopila — I thank you for your solidarity!

 

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

 

P.S. You can ensure that our response to  this imminent threat from Energy Transfer Partners and the Trump administration is strong. Please give today so we can do the legal work and grassroots organizing needed to help our movement win! 

 

 

Lakota People's Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

 

The Lakota People's Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

 

 

 

 

7/7/2020:

 

It’s time to celebrate for a second day in a row, because we have amazing news from the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday late in the day, SCOTUS announced its ruling effectively halting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL)! Based on the Endangered Species Act, the Supremes upheld a lower court ruling preventing the pipeline from crossing domestic waterways. This is on top of Monday’s court decision to shut down oil flow through DAPL, making yesterday a truly good day for the environment and Indigenous sovereignty.

 

 

 

Let’s be clear: TC Energy, the pipeline’s operator, is not going to take this lying down. This is not KXL’s death-knell. So, we need to remain vigilant. For now, the Supreme Court has simply let stand U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ injunction against construction while the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reviews the pipeline company’s appeal.  

 

It’s likely there will be further legal wrangling and attempts by TC Energy to circumvent proper environmental review. We can expect the same from the Trump administration, should Trump be re-elected in November. On the other hand, Joe Biden has publicly pledged that his administration will cancel KXL, should he win the presidency.

 

For now, we can be thankful. Construction of KXL will remain stopped — a win for Unci Maka, our Grandmother Earth, and for our Lakota families here on the front line. We can be grateful that our people will retain access to clean water and a measure of safety from man camps, which might otherwise have spread COVID-19 and contributed to our epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

 

I thank you for standing with us against KXL so far. We’ll keep you informed of all developments going forward — and I hope I can count on you to stay with us, come rain or shine.

 

Wopila tanka — My sincere gratitude for your spirit and resolve!

 

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
Via The Lakota People's Law Project

 

 

Lakota People's Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

 

The Lakota People's Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

 

 

 

 

7/6/2020:

 

I have great news: this morning, District Court Judge James Boasberg ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be shut down within 30 days! In this momentous ruling, Judge Boasberg found that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of Energy Transfer’s crude oil pipeline, and that there were too many safety concerns to allow its continued operation. While this order only shuts DAPL down for 13 months while the Army Corps completes additional environmental assessments and safety planning, there is a good chance that when the oil is drained in 30 days, that oil will never flow again! 

 

 

 

Shares in DAPL’s parent company—Energy Transfer Partners—dropped 7% today.

 

We commend the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and their legal team at EarthJustice for years of dedication and persistence in this struggle to defang the Black Snake. And we are proud of the amicus brief that our legal team submitted in the lead up to this decision. We’re also elated that Judge Boasberg cited many of the questions we and our allies have raised since the beginning of the NoDAPL struggle. First, that it’s simply wrong to conduct an environmental assessment of a pipeline after it’s already been built. Second, that DAPL’s leak detection abilities are so poor it could be leaking more than 6,000 barrels of oil every day without detection, and Energy Transfer’s abysmal pipeline safety record raises that risk even further. Third, that there is no proper cleanup plan for a wintertime spill, when freezing Dakota winters make response the most difficult. Boasberg even went one step further, concluding that the drop in oil demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic makes shutting down the pipeline now less harmful to North Dakota’s economy.

 

So what comes next? First, Energy Transfer has to drain and shut down DAPL by August 6th. The Army Corps of Engineers then has 13 months to further study potential pipeline leaks and the dangers they pose. This ruling could still be appealed in the Federal District Court of D.C., but our analysis tells us that such an appeal is unlikely to succeed. 

 

Thank you to each and every one of you for your tireless support, and for staying with us throughout this journey.

 

Wopila tanka — Thank you for standing with us to protect our water, our land, and our families!

 

Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project

 

 

P.S. This has truly been a week of good news: just yesterday the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, slated to run from West Virginia to North Carolina, was canceled. In a joint statement, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cited ongoing delays, expected cost increases, and legal challenges from environmental and other groups as threats to the project’s viability. The trend away from fossil fuels is becoming stronger with each passing day, thanks to your activism and the support of so many others like you. 

 

 

Lakota People's Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

 

The Lakota People's Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

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