Environmental Racism and Assault Is U.S. Law and Policy

Harold A. Monteau

Just in case anyone has been asleep under a rock, or is not informed because of the major news networks’ “Blackout” of Greasy Grass Fight in 1876any real news coverage of the thousands of people who have traveled to the North Dakota Prairie at the confluence of the Cannonball River and Missouri River, a short explanation:

In April of this year a small group of Tribal people established a “Prayer Camp” (Sacred Stone Camp) near the site where a major oil pipeline is scheduled to be constructed “under” the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Government had learned that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which was supposed to traverse the Missouri River near Bismarck, North Dakota was rerouted over concerns by the state and counties around Bismarck that it would endanger the environment, particularly with regard to potential oil spills into the Missouri River which is the source of drinking water and water for agriculture and municipal uses across a wide swath of the state. The new route would take a course over an area known to have Sacred Sites and Burial Sites important to the Sioux People, and would endanger the source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux and other downstream Tribes as well as endanger safe drinking water and water suitable for Agricultural and Municipal uses for some Eighteen Million (18,000,000) people in the Missouri River Watershed. The Missouri joins with the Mississippi River and any Oil spills into the Missouri could affect water usage all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The “Prayer Camp” has now grown into several camps of “Water Protectors” or “protestors” if you prefer using the State characterization. The “Water Protectors Village” now fluctuates between 2000 and 4000 people as supporters come and go and return.

On Friday, September 9, 2016 the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia denied an injunction sought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other plaintiffs seeking to halt construction until it could be determined whether the Federal Agencies involved (mostly the Army Corp of Engineers) had complied with several Federal Laws regarding Environmental Protection, Archeological Protection and Native American Graves and Sacred Site protection.

AGAIN, don’t let the guard down just yet. Small victory, but unless it does turn into Federal Action to relocate or disapprove the pipeline, it will only have the effect of delay. The laws involved were written by the wealthy companies, lobbyists and their Congresspersons who, in this day of bought and paid for representation, need the money and support of Companies and Banks that own and finance the industry, and are not inclined to go against them.

There is an opportunity here to turn this into a bona fide “National” movement to resist these kinds of projects that only solidify the U.S. dependence on Oil instead of looking for alternative energy solutions (many available now). The Billions spent on these pipelines would be better spent improving available transportation infrastructure and safety. But the Oil and Gas, and other carbon based energy providers, lobby against any real effort to develop alternative energy sources. Despite the SCOTUS rulings giving Corporations the status of “persons” and all the appurtenant Constitutional Rights of persons, Corporations have neither a conscience or soul, operate under present day Business Ethics that require Executives and Boards to pursue profit without Social Consciousness. The branches of Federal Government (Congress, Judiciary and Administration), have lost the political will to provide for that Social Conscience, because the political system is just as dependent on Corporate Profit as the Corporations. That is what we are up against. But, the people can prevail. The Indians have drawn a line in the sand and say “enough is enough” and all Americans should thank them for doing so and join in support or continue to watch the consequences unfold that are being caused by our dependence on Carbon based Energy Sources.

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