Dallas, TX — On Friday, September 8th, 2017, the #STOPETP coalition rallied at the headquarters of Energy Transfer Partners. The rally featured speakers who traveled from the Dakotas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and other communities who are impacted by ETP’s pipelines. Following the rally, organizers of the event led a march to Kelcy Warren’s home, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. As the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, Warren is responsible for the many violations committed in the construction and operation of his company’s pipelines. He and his company are also responsible for using illegal counter-terrorist tactics on Indigenous Peoples and their allies during the Standing Rock movement.
Despite unprecedented protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and being charged for many violations during the construction of DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners continues to expand its operations across the United States. From North Dakota to Pennsylvania, from Ohio to Louisiana, from Michigan to Texas, ETP violates Indigenous sovereignty, human and environmental rights. “Enough is enough. Across the country, Energy Transfer Partners steals land, poisons air and water, and trashes the climate,” said Yolonda Blue Horse, Society of Native Nations. “But the buck stops here. We’ve come together today to say ‘Stop.’ Stop the violence, stop the pollution, #StopETP.”
The devastation of Hurricane Harvey is horrific and unprecedented, affecting millions of people in Texas and Louisiana. Estimates are now being tallied from the impacts of widespread flooding and this event will be the largest ever since Katrina.
Beyond the obvious devastation and what is not being talked about enough in the mainstream is the environmental damage from leaking petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and manufacturing facilities. As the storm moved in these plants began shutting down operations which included burning off noxious gases into the air and releasing cancer-causing pollutants that made their way into rising waters.
We are a growing coalition of communities and organizations that care deeply about our rights to clean water, clean air, a stable climate, and a democratic society. We believe that landowners and indigenous tribes have the right to determine what happens to their land. But Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a giant oil company based in Texas, has been consistently violating those rights in their drive to build new oil and gas pipelines. And along the way, communities have suffered.
Listeners may recall photographs of Native American people on horses facing masses of law enforcement in riot gear and tanks near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The powerful images seemed to symbolize the fight of indigenous communities and others against a pipeline carrying fracked oil from the Bakken Fields some thousand miles into Illinois, crossing the Missouri River that serves as a life source for the Standing Rock and others in the region.
But fights have many fronts, some less visible than others. And as activists know, struggles don’t end when media lose interest. The No DAPL fight may not be in your news feed anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s over; far from it.
New Town, N.D. – This weekend, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Protectors of Water and Earth Rights (P.O.W.E.R.), grassroots activists and clergy from the Gulf Coast led a “toxic tour,” the Third Annual Healing Walk, and an educational seminar for community members in the heart of the Bakken Oil Formation. The two-day series of events aimed to increase awareness about the environmental impacts of pipeline toxins and pollution in local water resources. Participants say this information is critical for communities along the pipeline routes because the Bakken oil and gas field resources the Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines and also leaks 275,000 tons of methane per year.
BISMARCK, N.D. –– Ft. Berthold Protectors of Water & Earth Rights (POWER) sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on July 10 over the agency’s decision to ignore parts of a rule designed to reduce the waste of natural gas resources belonging to tribal government and mineral rights owners on allotment land. The Methane Waste Prevention Rule went into effect in January 2017. However, in June, at the urging of industry groups, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stayed provisions of the rule, preventing its full implementation for at least six months. Ft. Berthold POWER is challenging the stay as part of a coalition of community and environmental groups represented in court by Earthjustice. “This is the third time that the industry has influenced the new administration to force the repeal of this much-needed regulation that protects our resources and air quality,” said Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara Nation member Lisa DeVille, the president of Ft. Berthold POWER, a local affiliate of the grassroots statewide Dakota Resource Council.
From May 26-28, 2017, a gathering was held in Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil, around “the effects of environmental and climate policies on traditional peoples.” In addition to the publication of the Xapuri Declaration, videos were disseminated with statements from indigenous leaders, seringueiros (rubber tappers) and other participants at the event. Since then, many of those leaders have been pressured and threatened by the „owners of power in Acre“.
Chinese oil consortium Andes Patroleum has been given a go ahead to explore and exploit lands in the Ecuadorian Amazon, including territory of the Sapara people. Amazonian leaders have denounced this development, as Andes Patroleum will cause genocide against the Sapara Nation and uncontacted indigenous peoples if it drills in their ancestral territory in the Ecuadorian rainforest.
Join us at the Chinese Consulate for a solidarity and visibility action, and delivery of a letter demanding Andes Petroleum cancel the contract to explore and drill oil in Sapara territory immediately. This action will coincide with Sapara leader Gloria Ushigua Santi’s visit to the bay area.
On Friday, June 3oth, at approximately 2:36 pm, Bertha Zúniga and a friend were on their way back home after visiting in the community of Cancire of the Municipality of Santiago Puringla in the department of La Paz, when they were attacked by four men wielding machetes and throwing rocks at them while they were in their vehicle. As reported, the driver of their vehicle was able to avoid a deadly accident with defensive driving skills and evading future incident by taking a detour. These kinds of attacks are all too frequent and many times deadly. Bertha’s mother Berta Caceres was murdered last year as a direct result of her work to bring justice to the Indigenous Peoples of Honduras. Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores was an environmental activist, indigenous leader of her people, and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH).
Gulf Coast Environmental Justice Organizers launch the L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp, the new hub for the Bayou Bridge Resistance
Springfield, LA – Following legal victories for the Tribes at Standing Rock, Water Protectors in Southern Louisiana will open the L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp tomorrow. The launch marks the next fight to protect Indigenous rights, life-giving water and to stop Energy Transfer Partners from committing acts of environmental injustice. The Indigenous Environmental Network announced the opening of the camp with a video, highlighting, Cherri Foytlin who represents IEN’s interests in the Bayou. The video explains the connection between the Bayou Bridge and Dakota Access Pipeline, the Houma tribe, and all people who will be impacted by these pipelines, and why completion of the Bayou Bridge pipeline must be stopped.
Washington, D.C. – The Indigenous Environmental Network, in coordination with the D.C.- based Rising Hearts Coalition, the Hip Hop Caucus, and Earth Justice, among other Water Protectors rallied today at the U.S. District Courthouse in support of Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne Sioux Tribes, as they seek to end Dakota Access Pipeline. A U.S. district court judge ruled last week that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to complete a thorough environmental review and that the agency unlawfully expedited permits needed to finish the pipeline. In the historic ruling, the judge cited environmental justice arguments made by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies that the Corps failed to consider oil spill impacts on treaty fishing and hunting rights and therefore violated environmental laws and treaty rights.
From 26 to 28 May 2017, a meeting took place in Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil. The meeting brought together Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Manchineri and Shawadawa indigenous peoples, representatives of traditional communities, rubber tappers, academics and supporting organisations. The meeting’s theme was, “The effects of environmental / climatic policies on traditional populations”. The meeting was supported by Friends of the Earth International, the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the World Rainforest Movement. In a short report about the meeting, Daniel Santini of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, writes that the participants reject the term “carbon credits”, because they are actually “pollution credits”. Trading pollution makes the climate problem worse by giving the illusion that something is being done, when in fact it allows pollution to continue.