Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline celebrated a win this week when a federal judge ordered the US Army Corp of Engineers to reconsider its environmental review of the DAPL, which in the future might lead to halting pipeline operations.
The announcement was welcome news after months in which the pipeline was moving forward. To review, it’s been almost five months since President Trump’s executive orders authorized the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and nearly four months since the Standing Rock water protectors were evicted after enduring online harassment, assaults with “less lethal” weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, and blasts from police water cannons in the freezing North Dakota winter. Energy Transfer Partners retained military contractor TigerSwan to spy on encampments and coordinate a broad militaristic response to the water protectors. We learned in February that companies behind the pipeline reported “thousands of gallons of oil spilled in dozens of industrial accidents” over the last two years. Then, in early April, the DAPL itself leaked for the first time before it was even fully operational. Finally, oil began flowing through the pipeline earlier this month, the same day that Trump announced that the United States would be pulling out of the historic Paris Agreement.
The water protectors and their allies are continuing their fight. For months now, they have been taking aim at the project in a way that the companies behind the DAPL are sure to notice: by hitting them in their pocketbooks. Here are some key actions you can take to join the fight:
1. Demand That Your City Divest From the Pipelines
As Jimmy Tobias wrote at The Nation back in March, much of the recent organizing around the DAPL is focused on getting cities to starve the project financially by divesting from banks that are funding the pipeline. They had their first victory back in February, when thanks to the advocacy of the Standing Rock Sioux and allies like councilwoman Kshama Sawant, the city of Seattle passed an ordinance prohibiting local government from dealing with Wells Fargo. The bank, whose business with the municipality amounted to $3 billion annually, is one of 15 banks directly invested in the DAPL. The momentum from this victory was followed by another, as the City Council went on to pass a resolution against construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline.