For months, protests have been taking place in Standing Rock in opposition to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, protesters against the multi-billion dollar crude oil pipeline project have drawn thousands to North Dakota. Dubbed “water protectors,” Standing Rock protesters are standing in solidarity with the Native Americans in the area. They claim that the proposed completion route of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River and Lake Oahe threatens fresh water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and everybody downstream.
— Standing Rock Sioux (@StandingRockST) January 25, 2017
Not to mention the fears that the Dakota Access Pipeline route compromises sacred ancient Native American sites and even burial grounds.
The months-long Standing Rock protests have become increasingly volatile and politicized, with protesters reporting increasingly brutal and militarized policing tactics, some perpetuated by private security contractors that have allegedly unleashed dogs, tear gas, and other forcible measures against protesters.
In early December, it appeared that the protests at Standing Rock had done what they had set out to do when the Obama administration-led U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying the last critical easement under Lake Oahe to companies behind the pipeline, Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics.
“The Army will not grant an easement to cross Lake Oahe at the proposed location based on the current record.”
The companies building the Dakota Access Pipeline were advised to find an alternative route for the last stretch of the controversial project, and the Standing Rock Sioux and other protesters celebrated. However, it was a short-lived celebration as Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics vowed to finish the project as intended, threatening legal retaliation and to take their case to the incoming Trump administration.
— (((Monica Ranger))) (@MonicaRanger) January 24, 2017
— Sherry (@shadylady1031) January 24, 2017
don't forget about standing rock.
don't forget about flint.
water is life and a human right
— lil cakes (@PRiNSUSWHATEVA) January 25, 2017
On January 24, just days after being sworn in, Trump signed an executive order allowing for the completing of the Dakota Access Pipeline as planned, as well as the also controversial Keystone Pipeline. The new POTUS said he would “renegotiate some of the terms,” but he would like to “get that pipeline built,” reports The New York Times,“subject to terms and conditions.” It has been widely reported that Donald Trump is an investor in the companies behind the DAPL; it has also been reported that he sold associated stock before being sworn in as POTUS.
“Again, subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us.”
In response to Trump’s executive orders, Standing Rock protesters have vowed to continue to standing their ground at Standing Rock. Jan Hasselman, a lawyer representing the Standing Rock Sioux and employed by Earthjustice, Trump’s Tuesday decision flies in the face of recent reviews into the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“They’re just ignoring the problems that the government has already found, and that is the kind of thing that courts need to review very closely.”
— Erin Schrode (@ErinSchrode) January 24, 2017
In addition to the hundreds of Standing Rock protesters who have braved the harsh North Dakota winter, even ignoring the orders of Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II to continue their water protector protests, celebrities are coming out of the woodwork to support the Standing Rock protest efforts in the wake of Trump’s controversial executive order.
— marybeth♡ (@marybeth_msax) January 13, 2015
Actress Shailene Woodley of the Divergent films was arrested for participating in the Standing Rock protests last October.
“We saw people being shot with rubber bullets. I was arrested, hundreds were arrested. People being sprayed with water cannons in subzero degree temperatures trying to protect not only the earth, but indigenous sovereignty and indigenous rights.”
MUCH PROPS to you, Shailene Woodley!
(And YOU take a BEAUTiFUL mug shot.) pic.twitter.com/4Su8iWsWIn
— sHANE tEA fRENCH (@sHANE_t_fRENCH) October 13, 2016
After the news about Trump’s new Dakota Access Pipeline order broke, Woodley vowed to continue her fight against the potentially environmentally devastating pipeline. As People reports, the 25-year-old actress has promised to “mobilize” Standing Rock protesters in order to protect clean water from the eventuality of a pipeline leak.
“This pipeline would be built underneath the Missouri river. As we know, it’s not a matter of if pipelines leak, it’s a matter of when pipelines leak. And when this one leaks, it would affect the drinking water of 18 million people, not only Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota [and] South Dakota, but millions of people down river as well.”
Woodley isn’t the only celebrity to come out in renewed support of the Standing Rock protests this week. Disgraced former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (who hasn’t made a public appearance since she suffered a humiliating 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207) made a personal appearance at Standing Rock this week to drop off much-needed supplies to aid in the protest efforts.
I had one of the best road trips of my life with @rondarousey to deliver supplies to the protesters at Standing Rock! This was such an incredible experience, & I can't thank my friend enough for allowing me to be a part of it! #NODAPL #StandWithStandingRock #StandingRock #ArmbarNation #NoDak #UFC #RondaRousey #PitaLiving #TeamPita #TeamRousey #Activist #mma #wmma #judo #ijf #RoadTrips #RV #StandingRock #TeamBG @ballengeegroup
A photo posted by Pauline Macias (@paulinepitamacias) on
In addition to renewed celebrity support, Standing Rock protests have sprung up around the country in response to Donald Trump’s decision to greenlight the completion of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo]