Pipeline Company’s Last Stand

Dear Friends,

Standing Rock Crowd

Spirit Camp continues to grow, at 1,200 now

Big Oil has redoubled its efforts to convince America that the Bakken Pipeline is safe and inevitable (they just launched a new front group). Yet signs are everywhere that pipeline fighters are scoring more and more kinks in Big Oil’s armor.

The epicenter of Bakken pipeline resistance recently has been the Standing Rock Sioux Spirit Camp near Cannonball, North Dakota. The Camp took root in April with thirty people, and now has grown to 1,200 pipeline warriors, with more coming from over 30 tribal nations, and non-tribal allies joining as well.

Standing Rock 1

Law enforcement at Spirit Camp

I spoke with Mekasi Horinek with Bold Oklahoma, a Ponca and one of the Camp’s leaders.

“What’s happening is unprecedented,” said Mekasi. “We haven’t seen anything like this in over 100 years, where Indigenous People from the seven council fires have come together and erected the sacred council lodge. The last time that happened was Custer’s last stand. Well, we’re putting the pipeline company on notice that this is their last stand.”

The Camp is indeed having an impact. Just this week, Dakota Access announced it was halting construction there indefinitely. And in a desperate move to stem the flow of fighters to the Camp, local law enforcement actually closed the roads! (Watch the video here.)

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 4.15.40 PM

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier on limiting access to Spirit Camp

One argument given is that there were threats of pipe bombs being planted. “That’s totally false,” Mekasi told me. “We’ve had tv cameras and news crews here all the time. The only pipe we have here is our sacred pipe. This is a peaceful camp. We’re here in prayer, and all arrests have been non-violent.”

Indeed, there have been 28 arrests so far, and not a single incident of anyone resisting arrest.

For an important summary of the link between the pipeline resistance in North Dakota and the historic deadly flooding downstream in Louisiana, check out this piece by Bill McKibben (and meet Mekasi, who’s quoted in the second video).

So, what can YOU do to help?Standing Rock 2

1. Go to the Camp of the Sacred Stones. And if you can’t do that, support the Legal Defense Fund for those risking arrest.

2. We’re next, Iowa! Yes, non-violent direct action will begin here soon, sorry to say. Please sign the Pledge of Resistance and/or circulate it to your networks.

3. Write to President Obama. He needs to step forward, stop sitting on the sidelines, break his silence and reject Bakken like he did Keystone. Write to him directly and/or sign this petition.

Standing Rock, Obama

Last year, the Standing Rock Sioux listened to President Obama. Now will he listen to them?

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Listen to the Fallon Forum:

– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Honoring a great American tradition

Dear Friends,

Filling in for me Monday, August 8th at 11:00 on the Fallon Forum is Maria Filippone. Her focus will be on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and her guests include Isaac Christensen with Jewish Voices for Peace and Kathleen McQuillen of American Friends Service Committee. An important part of the conversation often overlooked is the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. See below for details for how to listen to the show live, rebroadcast, or as podcast. And callers are always welcome at (515) 528-8122 during the live broadcast on Monday at 11:00 CT.

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In every fight against injustice, there comes a point when men and women of conscience must defy laws allowing that injustice to persist. In the protracted fight to stop the Bakken pipeline, we have arrived at that point.

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

The crowd at a South Dakota Farm Alliance Rally on Feb. 12, 1985 (from The Daily Republic).

Over the past two years landowners, farmers, tribes and environmentalists have done everything possible to stop the pipeline.

We have pursued legal and legislative channels at great cost of time and money.

We have held forums, rallies, protests, flotillas, press conferences and more.

We have written letters and opinion pieces for our newspapers, spoken with radio stations and TV reporters, and written countless letters to government agencies.

We have learned more about pipelines, climate change, watersheds and eminent domain than we ever imagined we’d need to know. With the knowledge we’ve acquired, we’ve educated others — and public opinion has moved our direction. The most recent Iowa Poll shows less than half of Iowans support the pipeline while 3/4ths oppose the use of eminent domain to build it.

We await court rulings on a lawsuit filed by ten Iowa landowners and another just filed by Tribal leaders in the Dakotas, and remain cautiously optimistic that the court will decide in our favor. But barring an injunction, those cases may take time.

Meanwhile our land, water, property rights and climate are being trampled.

From the perspective of climate change, it is unconscionable that our government enables this pipeline to go forward. President Obama claims to understand the seriousness of climate change, having said, “No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to stop this pipeline.

From the perspective of eminent domain, Republican Governor Terry Branstad campaigned against the abuse of eminent domain, yet now has no problem with its use for a powerful, wealthy pipeline company.

From the perspective of our environment, Democratic officials like State Senator Mike Gronstal and Congressman Dave Loebsack either openly support the pipeline or refuse to stand with their constituents against it, despite grave concerns about the potential impact on our land and water.

As with many great struggles before us, when those elected to represent and protect our interests fail to do so, it is incumbent upon the people to challenge an unresponsive government through nonviolent civil disobedience.

In this struggle against the Bakken pipeline, there are two key examples of the failure of law and government to respect and protect our rights.

First is the Army Corps of Engineers’ abdication of its responsibility to assure the safety of our waters. In issuing a permit to Dakota Access, the Corps failed to assess the full range of the pipeline’s probable impacts.

Second, the decision by the Iowa Utilities Board to issue eminent domain to a private company providing no service to Iowans is an assault on the sanctity of our right to own and enjoy property. If government can allow your land to be confiscated for an oil pipeline, where will the assault on liberty strike next?

Yes, it is time to defy an unjust law, time to defend liberty, time to fight the expansion of the fossil-fuel infrastructure and the accompanying destruction of our environment.

In the tradition of other great American struggles for freedom . . .

From the Boston Tea Party to the labor movement struggle to secure rights and freedoms we still enjoy and take for granted;

From the fight for women’s suffrage to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s;

From the Farm Crisis when farmers stood with their neighbors to block foreclosure auctions to the struggles happening now all across the country in opposition to fracking, pipelines and oil drilling;

. . . It is time to step forward and risk arrest.

Over a month ago, a Pledge of Resistance was circulated. The Pledge was initiated by Bold Iowa and supported by Iowa CCI, CREDO Action and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future. To date, over 1,000 people have signed the Pledge, which reads:

“{W}e are the conservatives, standing up for a safe and secure future for our families. It is those we protest, those who profit from poisoning our water, who violate our property rights, and who are radically altering the chemical composition of our atmosphere — and the prospects for survival of humanity — that are the radicals.”

If you are moved, please sign the Pledge and stand with us in a final attempt to stop this pipeline that our planet can’t sustain and most Iowans don’t want.

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Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to launch a campaign of non-violent direct action against the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa, our Tribal allies at the Camp of Sacred Stones in North Dakota need our support NOW!

Without consent or permit, they started digging. From The Camp of the Sacred Stones.

Without consent or permit, they started digging. From The Camp of the Sacred Stones.

We just received word that Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) gave notice to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that they plan to start construction across the Missouri River in North Dakota Friday morning

Bold Iowa can not be there because we are planning actions in Iowa. We will be tweeting and posting pics from our allies at the action in North Dakota.

Here’s what you can do to show support:

1) If you are able on such short notice, travel to the Camp of the Sacred Stones near Cannonball, North Dakota to stand with our Tribal allies. Visit the Camp’s website for more information. Call (701) 301-2238 or email sacredstonecamp@gmail.com with questions. If you’re able to go, take pictures and shoot video to document what is going on and share it online. Send material directly to me at ed@boldiowa.org.

2) Can’t make it to North Dakota? Show your solidarity with the Camp by sharing their stories online and through traditional networks. Let your Facebook friends know what’s going on, and send a letter-to-the-editor of your local paper. In addition to the Bold Iowa Facebook Page, another source of information about breaking developments is through pipeline construction watchdogs.
The bottom line is, working together and building broader alliances, we can still stop this pipeline!

Every non-violent action we take to delay construction helps our cause. Every brave initiative — whether by our Tribal allies, farmers and landowners, or environmental partners — helps raise the national profile of our fight. And as it becomes clear that the Bakken Pipeline is Big Oil’s end-run around the rejected Keystone Pipeline, our political allies inside the Washington, D.C. beltway will, hopefully, feel empowered to take action to put a halt to its construction.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

 

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Please, Mr. President

Dear Friends,

An article in The Guardian reads, “As the string of record-breaking global temperatures continues unabated, June 2016 marks the 14th consecutive month of record-breaking heat.”

If Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, the monster typhoon to decimate the Philippines, and the raging wildfires in the Western states didn’t do it, then perhaps this new indicator of the world of hurt coming our way as climate change progresses will spur America to action.

Incredibly, many politicians continue to debate the climate crisis as if the matter is not yet settled. Even those who understand the gravity of the problem seem paralyzed by inaction.

Even President Obama, who famously said, “No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” doesn’t seem to get it. If he did, there are many things he could have done to stop the Bakken Pipeline. There are still things he can do. It is not too late. Perhaps he will be moved to action by:

– The Camp of the Sacred Stones, blocking construction of the pipeline in North Dakota since April, or

– The Oceti Sakowin youth on a 2000-mile relay run from North Dakota to Washington, DC, who will rally in front of the White House on August 6, or

– The sight of Iowa landowners and others who have signed the Pledge of Resistance being arrested as we block construction of the pipeline later this month (stay tuned).

Will President Obama take action? Or was he merely spouting more political rhetoric when he said climate change is the greatest threat to our future? The world is weary of political rhetoric. Action is needed, and needed NOW!

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Ron Yarnell fills in for me today on the Fallon Forum. His first guest is Joe Alton, a Des Moines teacher, who’ll talk about that most prolific of political- and social-revolution tools: the guitar.

Also joining Ron is Nate Mason, a local pastor and youth minister with the United Methodist Church. Nate’s also a former Democratic Party campaign staffer. They’ll talk about how religion and politics are intersecting for young people these days, and they’ll review the political conventions and what might lie ahead in the 2016 campaign.

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA)
– KICI.LP 105.3 FM (Iowa City, IA)
– WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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