USA: Trump signs executive order to advance Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipelines; advocates urge respect for rights & environmental review; activists face criminal charges

For the recent history of the Standing Rock Sioux protest against and legal/regulatory challenges to the Dakota Access Pipeline, see:

Standing Rock Sioux - A Model for Protection of Planet and its People, David Schilling, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Dec. 2016

Police use force against indigenous "water protectors" opposing Dakota Access Pipeline - human rights groups urge demilitarisation of police response, Nov. 2016

Police remove native "water protectors" from Dakota Access Pipeline; Amnesty Intl. sends monitors, companies warned of possible liability, Oct. 2016

Native American groups protest North Dakota pipeline construction over environmental concerns; protesters must be able to access area, demonstrate -Amnesty Intl., Sep. 2016

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Article
16 March 2017

Norway: KLP pension fund divests from Dakota Access Pipeline citing insufficient consultations & lack of progress in influencing company through active ownership

Author: KLP

"KLP excludes companies involved in Dakota Access Pipeline",

In light of the most recent developments around the Dakota Access Pipeline, KLP has decided to exclude the companies Energy Transfer Partners, Phillips 66, Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Corporation from its investments due to an unacceptable risk of contributing to human rights violations...On March 3rd, the UN Special Representative on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples held a press conference following her visit to the United States, including North Dakota. The UN Special Representative concluded that the affected tribes were not sufficiently consulted in connection with the project. She also expressed deep concern over the executive order from January this year, which granted permission to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline without a broader environmental impact statement... In ultimately reaching the decision to divest, the most recent statement from the UN Special Rapporteur, in conjunction with the executive order from January, form the basis for this decision...A previous recommendation from the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global that addresses the rights of indigenous peoples has also contributed to KLP's evaluation of the case. Additionally, KLP has not been able to achieve a sufficient level of progress in influencing the companies through active ownership...

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Article
30 January 2017

Activists opposing Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipelines & journalists who documented demonstrations face criminal charges

Author: Sam Levin, Guardian (UK)

“Anti-pipeline activists and film-makers face prison, raising fears for free press”, 30 January 2017

Climate change activists and film-makers who documented their anti-pipeline demonstrations are facing criminal charges and hefty prison sentences…that have raised concerns about press intimidation and the targeting of peaceful protesters. The slew of upcoming trials…stem from a series of coordinated actions on 11 October 2016 aimed at shutting down oil sands pipelines. Nine criminal cases include several filed against film-makers and live-streamers who recorded protesters closing the emergency valves on pipelines…The court cases…come at a time of increasing anxiety for journalists and activists surrounding the arrest and aggressive prosecution of reporters and protesters critical of US government and powerful corporations…Lawmakers in multiple states have also recently pursued new laws aimed at restricting protests…The October #ShutItDown protests were organized in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access pipeline…[and] have also led to serious criminal charges…Even when cases against journalists are ultimately tossed, the initial charges can have a chilling effect…

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Article
30 January 2017

USA: Iowa oil spill highlights environmental risks posed by Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipeline projects

Author: Julia Carrie Wong, Guardian (UK)

“Iowa oil spill underscores pipeline risks day after Trump revives major projects”, 26 January 2017

Just a day after Donald Trump signed executive orders to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, a pipeline rupture spilled 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel in northern Iowa. Magellan Midstream Partners, an Oklahoma company with more than 10,000 miles of oil and ammonium pipeline, acknowledged that the spill began on Wednesday morning...The oil has pooled in an agricultural field…The spill does not appear to threaten any waterways and has not caused any injuries or evacuations, according to the company and the DNR…The Magellan spill occurred just days after the company reached an $18m settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act…[T]he EPA announced that Magellan had agreed to spend $16m on “injunctive relief” and pay a $2m fine over three pipeline spills in Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas. The injunctive relief includes completing cleanup efforts in Nebraska and improving damage prevention training…

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Article
27 January 2017

Amnesty Intl. urgent action to condemn Trump's decision on Dakota Access pipeline

Author: Amnesty International

"Condemn President Trump’s Action on the Dakota Access Pipeline"

Sign this petition condemning President Trump’s decision to disregard the serious concerns of Indigenous people about the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is a shameful and unconscionable attack on human rights. Demand that President Trump meet his obligation under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous peoples like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including the right to access clean water and the right to peacefully protest...

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Article
27 January 2017

Dakota Access pipeline protesters determined to stay despite new clashes with security forces

Author: Will Connors, Wall Street Journal (USA)

“Protesters, Oil Companies Gear Up for Next Round at Standing Rock”, 23 January 2017

Protesters opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline are gearing up for a new round of clashes after the inauguration of President Donald Trump…Several hundred additional protesters arrived at the main protest campsite in North Dakota this weekend…There were several clashes between law enforcement and protesters last week…that led to the arrest of 21 protesters…The pipeline’s builder, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP, has said it completed all necessary permitting requirements…and worked to minimize any damage to traditional sites and the risk of an oil spill…Standing Rock tribe leadership has asked protesters to leave by February 19, but many are determined to stay, convinced that the Trump administration will give the project the green light soon. When protests over the pipeline began…, Energy Transfer Partners…hired several private security firms…to get control of the situation…Protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have raised concerns about the military-style tactics of the security forces…

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Article
27 January 2017

Interview with indigenous rights advocate Suzanne Benally on challenges under Trump administration

Author: Shaldon Ferris, Indigenous Rights Radio

“What Will a Trump Presidency Mean for U.S. Indigenous Communities?”, 7 December 2016

Suzanne Benally is a leader in Indigenous Rights advocacy, and serves as the Executive Director of Cultural Survival. She shares her thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing Native American communities and Indigenous Peoples in general in the context of the Trump administration...

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Article
27 January 2017

Opponents warn Trump's stock in company building Dakota Access pipeline will affect his decisions

Author: CBS News

“Donald Trump's stock in Dakota Access oil pipeline raises concerns”, 25 November 2016

…Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and…opponents warn that Trump’s investments could affect any decision he makes on the…project…Trump also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access. While Trump’s stake in the pipeline company is modest compared with his other assets, ethics experts say it’s among dozens of potential conflicts that could be resolved by placing his investments in a blind trust, a step Trump has resisted…The project has been held up while the Army Corps of Engineers consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who believe the project could harm the tribe’s drinking water and…cultural sites…Concern about Trump’s possible conflicts comes as protests over the pipeline have intensified in recent weeks…The Army Corps of Engineers granted Warren’s company the permits needed for the crossing in July, but…decided in September that further analysis was warranted…

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Article
27 January 2017

Standing Rock Sioux tribe declares executive order on Dakota Access pipeline breach of law

Author: Oliver Milman, Guardian (UK)

“Standing Rock Sioux tribe says Trump is breaking law with Dakota Access order”, 26 January 2017

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has called Donald Trump’s decision to push forward the controversial Dakota Access pipeline “utterly alarming”, and warned the president that rushing through the project would break federal law…Trump signed an executive order instructing the army corps of engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the Dakota Access project...The army corps of engineers is undertaking an environmental impact statement over concerns that the pipeline could contaminate the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water at Lake Oahe in North Dakota…Trump’s order asks the army to consider “whether to withdraw” the environmental review, despite the fact it is already under way...David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock tribe,…has sought a meeting with Trump but has had no response…Trump’s administration has vowed to push through the completion of the…project, as well as the Keystone oil pipeline, in order to create what it claims to be thousands of jobs and spark a domestic “energy revolution”…

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Article
27 January 2017

Standing Rock Sioux tribe letter urges Trump not to bypass environmental analysis

Author: David Archambault II, on Stand with Standing Rock

“Letter to President Trump”, 25 January 2017

…This is not only a Native American movement, it is a movement of the working class…Millions stand by us, and will continue to do so as we receive executive indication that infrastructure projects will be driven by corporate desire rather than American values…[T]he [Environmental Impact Statement]…is already underway...This change in course is arbitrary and without justification; the law requires that changes in agency positions be backed by new circumstances or new evidence…It makes it even more difficult when one considers the close personal ties you and your associates have had with Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco. Your memorandum issues these directives with the condition that these actions are carried out “to the extent permitted by law.”…[T]he law now requires an Environmental Impact Statement. The USACE now lacks statutory authority to issue the easement because it has committed to the EIS process. Federal law, including the requirement of reasonable agency decision making, prevents that…

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Article
27 January 2017

Trump demands renegotiation of Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipelines to get better deal for Govt.

Author: Jennifer A Dlouhy, Meenal Vamburkar & Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg (USA)

“Trump Pins Keystone, Dakota Pipeline Fate on Renegotiation”, 24 January 2017

President Donald Trump took steps to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, while demanding a renegotiation to get a better deal for the U.S. government. Trump stopped short of green lighting construction on either pipeline but put a deadline on the government’s review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL to transport Alberta oil sands crude to U.S. refineries. Trump also announced policies…to curtail federal environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects…The documents signed Tuesday include an executive order…to expedite “high-priority infrastructure projects.”…To accelerate the Dakota Access pipeline, Trump directed the Army secretary to reconsider its earlier decision to conduct deeper environmental scrutiny…Trump compelled similar action to speed permitting of Keystone XL, asking TransCanada to re-submit its application for the project…Environmentalists fiercely battled Keystone XL, making it a flashpoint in broader debates about U.S. energy policy and climate change…

[Also refers to: Enbridge Energy Partners LP, Energy Transfer Equity LP, Energy Transfer Partners LP, Marathon Petroleum Corp., Phillips 66, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP]

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