The fate of life on our planet is everybody’s stake. But at the very forefront of resistance, the indigenous struggle worldwide has captured the flag and spearheaded an international movement which effectively sends out the message that both capitalism and national boundaries (and nationalism itself) can no longer supply the frameworks for solving problems of such global magnitude.
Last week the big news in the pipelines saga revealed that the courts are finally allowing five valve turners the legal standing that will allow them to pursue a necessity defense. That’s really big news.
This week, when all measures are failing, Earth First set up a tree sit to block the route of the Valley Lateral Pipeline. Activists are gearing up to pack the courtroom to resist TransCanada’s proposed Potomac Pipeline originating in Pennsylvania and passing through Maryland to connect the a gas distribution line in West Virginia. The State of Virginia Water Control Board delayed certification of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s permit.
The Center for Constitutional Rights has several pipelines and their builders in its legal sights: Energy Transfer Partners and /Energy Transfer Equity who are suing Earth First on a charge for racketeering, and Bayou Bridge LLC’s proposed Louisiana Pipeline, where they are opposing the state licensure of private security company Black Swan, the same outfit that terrorized the resisters in North Dakota. In California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an amicus brief arguing that Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal’s suit to operate a coal terminal in Port of Oakland is without merit. And the Center for Biological Diversity filed notice to sue the administration for permitting oil companies to dump fracking and drilling waste, fouling the Gulf of Mexico, and imperiling sea life. After years of pressure from environmental activists, World Bank agreed to curb its Funding of fossil fuels and stop funding oil and gas exploration after 2019. And on the alternative energy front, U.S. energy storage surged 46% led by a Texas big wind project.
Black Snake Chronicles: Resisting Wasichu Economics
This week, resisting Wasichu economics, the system that destroys Mother Earth, The Puyallup Tribe along with other climate activists have been protesting the Port of Tacoma natural gas facility, arguing that the project will
impact tribal rights to fish in treaty waters. Protecting the indigenous lands and culture of the Ecuadorian Amazon’s indigenous communities, a Brazilian court revoked the license of a proposed massive open-pit gold mine which would have impacted the Xingu River basin. as thousands of indigenous leaders and followers completed a 200-mile march to Quito. And this week the Standing Rock movement celebrated its first anniversary. Both Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux have fled court documents urging a federal judge to reject the recent arguments of federal officials and the pipeline developer that seek to ignore the tribe’s proposals. And the same day the Nebraska Public service Commission approved TransCanada’s permit to allow Keystone to operate through part of the state, two hundred indigenous people met for the Gathering to Protect the Sacred, reaffirming the international agreement among indigenous nations to protect the planet from tar sands projects, whether located in the U.S. or Canada. where 90% of the Canadian dollar value is based on tar sands. Not only are the tar sands being stopped by citizen opposition, the surge of natural gas, and of alternatives are jeopardizing the marginal value of tar sands, and because Alberta is land locked country, there’s no economic way of getting that oil to market without risking repeated oil spills down the line “as if the pipeline were passing a kidney stone,” to quote one journalist. Just a few moths ago four pipelines designed to bring the tar sands out of Alberta were on the drawing boards, but two months ago, the longest one was scrapped by TransCanada because of declining barrel prices and the resulting drop in tar sands extraction.
Divestment is climbing, electric cars are coming on line, and Keystone XL is facing the disinterest of the very oil producers and refiners the pipelines were supposed to serve. Without customers, pipelines go broke. Enbridge Line 3 (the 915,000 barrels-a-day pipeline) is ripe for a tribal suit.
Lakota organizer Judith LeBlanc states, “The traditional indigenous practice is that you must respond to adversity with courage, humility, compassion and love of community as we always have….Native peoples have a legal, moral, spiritual, and inherent right be caretakers of the planet.”
The Dakota Sioux and their allies world over remain committed to Mni Wiconi — Water is Life.
Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns
Amazon Watch announces Toronto-based Belo Sun Mining license to drill revoke by a federal court upholding Brazilian indigenous rights.
Honduran resistance continues with Zelaya and Nasralla calling for peaceful and permanent general strike.
Doug Jones won a Democrat Senate seat in Alabama 49 to 51 (see Common Dreams, 12.16.17)