Arson, Armed Ranchers Keep Dakota Access Standoff on Simmer
While a judge freed a journalist charged with “felony rioting” for reporting on a September confrontation between members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and security agents for the consortium trying to push through the US$3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline, acts of vandalism directed at pipeline equipment and reports of local ranchers arming themselves suggest both sides are digging in for a long standoff.
The Dakota Access Pipeline Project—in which Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. indirectly holds a 36.75% stake—is designed to carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from northeastern North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields to southern Illinois. Reuters reports that construction equipment belonging to Dakota Access LLC was set on fire over the weekend, doing about US$2 million in damage.
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“The Jasper County Sheriff’s office said the fire occurred late Saturday near the town of Reasnor, Iowa, near where other equipment was set ablaze in August along the pipeline route,” Reuters states.
On Monday, a North Dakota judge ordered that felony rioting charges laid against documentary filmmaker Amy Goodman be dropped. According to Salon, Goodman had filmed “private security guards who were hired by the Dakota Access pipeline company attacking and pepper-spraying peaceful protesters. The video also showed security forces using attack dogs, including one that had blood dripping from its mouth and nose.”
“This is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline,” Goodman said in a statement following the decision.