Energy Transfer Partners, the Dakota Access pipeline operator, has refused to stop construction that will pollute the water of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, The Guardian is reporting.
The operator picked the day of the U.S. elections to announce that will be going ahead with a final initiative in two weeks despite the Native American protests. Danny Grassrope, a tribal leader of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, revealed that it was a well-thought process to keep the project moving when all eyes were on the presidential elections.
“With the elections being so big and North Dakota being so small, they think they can just sweep this under the rug. I am not really surprised. Snakes are sneaky, and this is a black snake…it blindsides everyone. A lot of people are going to get angry, and this is where we need to stay positive.”
Energy Transfer Partners has already completed construction up the river at the water source for the Sioux tribe and will soon start drilling the site. Demonstrations had started in April when Native American leaders feared significant damage to their lands. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had announced that the company would stop working in September, but massive protests erupted when it was found out that sacred burial grounds had been violated and work was still going on.
In addition, a judge had rescinded a request from tribal leadership to stop construction, which escalated the protests. This led to local police making more than 400 arrests and over 1 million people showing solidarity with the uprising on Facebook.
Energy Transfer Partners has refused to stop construction even though President Obama had suggested federal agencies look at alternatives and see how the pipeline could be rerouted. The pipeline is penciled to transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil from an oil field in North Dakota to a refinery close to Chicago.
“We’re monitoring this closely and I think as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans, and I think that right now the army corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.”
In a statement, when most Americans were following the keenly contested elections, Energy Transfer Partners had revealed it was prepping horizontal drilling equipment for burrowing under Lake Oahe.
The water basin on the Missouri river is where the Standing Rock Sioux nation and other indigenous people have gathered in opposition to the pipeline. After a slew of clashes, activists and tribal leaders had believed they had reached a 30-day truce and are shocked that the company is driving ahead with construction.
Cheryl Angel, a tribe member, revealed that it was ample proof that Energy Transfer Partners had no soul with regards to moving ahead with the $3.7 billion project in defiance of the president and the 1000’s of demonstrators who had opposed the Standing Rock project.
“I’m shock. I’m speechless. It’s unconscionable and devastating. It’s almost as though they have no soul.”
Cheryl Angel went on to say it showed the environmental irresponsibility of the corporation, especially when final permits still needed to be approved.
“I’m in tears, because I can’t believe the company would do this to a whole group of people who don’t have any say.”
Pipeline spokeswoman Vicki Granado revealed that the company was not defying President Obama, but rather, they were not aware that any consideration been given to another route.
“We are not aware that any consideration is being given to a reroute and we remain confident we will receive our easement in timely fashion.”
A formal complaint is being pursued against Energy Transfer Partners for failing to reveal that they unearthed Native American artifacts as they worked the Dakota Access pipeline route.
The timing of the announcement with the November 8 elections has raised plenty of suspicion. Activists and tribal leaders had also expressed frustration with Obama for not coming out quickly to condemn the exercise, especially when protesters were arrested, tased, and peppered with rubber bullets.
[Featured Image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]