The Trump administration has been in office for less than a month — and already the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is once again proceeding. Company officials say oil will be flowing by June.
This is Trahant Reports.
There is a flurry of activity around the Dakota Access Pipeline. The project has cost more than $3.8 billion to transfer oil from North Dakota to markets in Illinois and beyond.
Yet every action to build the pipeline is met with many more reactions to stop it.
The fight about this pipeline — and the broader issues it represents — is far from over.
Of course some days it does not seem that way. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the final easement for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River and complete the project.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said if the construction is successful “the tribe will seek to shut the pipeline operations down.” IT has also called for a march in Washington, DC, on March 10th.
Then President Trump lives in a world where none of this is a big deal. “I don’t even think it was controversial,” he said. “I haven’t had one call.”
Of course the White House wasn’t taking calls.
So the Center for Investigative Reporting and its Reveal News has created a phone number to solicit voice mails from the public about what they would tell the president. (It’s 510-545-2640). This is your opportunity to sound off.
Another challenge is a financial one. Many individuals, tribes, cities, and companies are pulling their money out of the banks that finance the Dakota Access Pipeline.
But that’s really just the beginning. Rebecca Adamson, founder of First Peoples Worldwide, points out to investors how much capital they are losing by investing in companies that operate without the consent from the community involved. She pegs this as a real cost, somewhere between $20 million to $30 million a week.
Just look at how much money has been wasted on law enforcement at Standing Rock and you get a sense about how big a number that could be. Clearly it’s better to partner with tribal communities.
I also have a big idea.
So we know the project will take some 60 days to complete. And about three weeks to actually transfer oil from North Dakota to the end of the pipeline.
What if on that day, the day the oil reaches markets, there is a Day Without Oil? One day. It will take a massive organizational effort. But why not? What if every ally of Standing Rock, every community that has its own Standing Rock, everyone who is concerned about water, just takes a day off from oil? Either walk every where that day — or just stay home. Do what it takes to remind the companies, and the government itself, who’s really in charge of the economy.
I am Mark Trahant.