Utilities Board rules against DAPL!

Dear Friends,

First a quick reminder about two events happening in Des Moines today and tomorrow (and check out our conversation about them on the second half of this week’s Fallon Forum):

— Wednesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Thoreau Center (3500 Kingman Blvd in Des Moines), the Middle East Peace Education Coalition is sponsoring a talk by Rabbi Brant Rosen titled “Anti-Semitism: the Reality and the Myth.”

— Thursday, 5:00-7:00 p.m. on the west side of the Iowa State Capitol, Iowa CCI is organizing a rally and concert to raise concerns about the World Food Prize’s focus on GMO crops and industrial agriculture vs organic production and family farms.

So, just when you think there’s been enough big news on DAPL, along comes more. Yesterday, in a decision favoring petitions filed by the Northwest Iowa Landowners Association (NILA) and the Iowa Sierra Club, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) ruled: “Dakota Access, LLC, shall file information describing how it will comply with the Utilities Board’s requirement that it maintain $25,000,000 in general liability insurance coverage for the benefit of affected parties in Iowa.”

This is significant! Dakota Access tried to weasel out of the liability commitment it made when it received a permit two years ago, and the IUB said, ‘NO’! (Kudos to Board members Geri Huser and Nick Wagner for voting in favor of the ruling.) Dakota Access argues that its commitment of $25 million is for an oil spill in any of the four states DAPL passes through (Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, and North Dakota). The IUB’s ruling makes it clear that the $25 million commitment must be specifically for Iowa.

I spoke with John Murray of NILA this morning. John’s a Storm Lake attorney who has been active in defending landowners along the pipeline route since the beginning. John says, “If you look at what happened in Kalamazoo Michigan, where an oil spill reached a major water body, if we had something like that happen in Iowa, $25 million isn’t going come close to covering it. The $25 million requirement was an outgrowth of criticism that NILA and the Iowa Sierra Club raised regarding the risk of an oil spill. If Dakota Access fails to provide this coverage for Iowa the next logical step is for the IUB to revoke the permit.”

So, yeah, this ruling is a big deal. But it’s important to keep it in perspective. In a joint press release put out today by Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa, Christine Nobiss, director of Indigenous Iowa, said, “Twenty-five million dollars is nothing. Clean up of the 2010 oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan cost over a billion dollars. People who live there are still getting sick and dying. No amount of insurance can cover the full damage of a major oil spill. We need to assure the IUB continues to stand up to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP).”

The IUB has given Dakota Access 21 days to comply with its insurance requirement. But really, we’ve been playing Russian Roulette. For sixteen months, DAPL has run close to half a million barrels of oil a day across our land and waterways without having even the minimum amount of insurance the IUB required. Dakota Access and its parent company, ETP, argue that the risk of a spill is minimal. Well, just this week, an ETP pipeline in Texas leaked into Button Willow Creek and Canyon Rock Lake. This one was a relatively small spill.

Next time, it could be worse. Next time, it could be Iowa.

Ed Fallon

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ALERT! Another oil pipeline is in the works!

Dear Friends,

In a world where it seems that most news is bad news, I’m sorry to have to pile on. But it’s better to know the truth than to live in denial — and if the truth doesn’t always set you free, it at least let’s you know what you’re up against and gives you a fighting chance to push back.

So, here’s the bad news: Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is planning to lay a second pipeline across Iowa!

Last week, I received an anonymous call from a long-time professional in the oil industry. I’m by nature cautious and not inclined to believe claims that aren’t well founded. So, I spent close to three hours on the phone with the caller. I also did a whole lot of additional research to corroborate what they told me.

Sorry to say, but their claim adds up. Just as ETP was quiet about DAPL #1 in 2014 — not letting the public know until it had bought off Iowa’s political establishment and had its ducks in a row — ETP wants to keep this new pipeline under wraps as long as possible.

We can’t let that happen! If we are to defeat this new pipeline, we have to start organizing NOW. One of Bold Iowa’s next steps is to determine what exactly ETP has to do to site the new pipeline, since it’s not immediately clear what existing easements allow.

Beyond that, there are three things YOU can do to help. Here’s our call to action:

1. Ask state and federal candidates running for office in Iowa if they support or oppose a second Dakota Access pipeline running diagonally across Iowa. We especially need to know where the candidates for governor and US Congress stand, but also candidates for the state legislature. Ask them (documented with a video if possible), let us know what they say, and we’ll spread the word so voters know.

2. Donate to Bold Iowa. We need your financial support to keep this fight going. Please consider a monthly donation as that gives us the solid base we need to focus on our work. We already spend way less time fundraising than most non-profits, and our monthly donors make that possible.

3. Share this press release through your social media connections and with any member of the mainstream media you have a connection with. Here’s a link to the release and the full text:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 11:00 a.m. CT

Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 and ed@boldiowa.com or Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 and cnobiss@gmail.com.

Inside source indicates second oil pipeline planned for Iowa
Credible source within oil industry says twinning of DAPL in the works

Des Moines, Iowa —  Bold Iowa’s director, Ed Fallon, revealed today that, over the past week, he has had extensive contact with a highly credible source within the oil industry who informed him that Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) intends to build a second pipeline along the existing easement through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.

“I’m by nature cautious and not inclined to believe claims that aren’t well founded,” said Fallon. “So, I spent close to three hours on the phone with the caller. I then did my own research and their claim adds up. Just as ETP was quiet about the first DAPL in 2014 — not letting the public know until it had bought off Iowa’s political establishment and had its other ducks in a row — ETP wants to keep this new line under wraps as long as possible so farmers, landowners, Indigenous communities, and other opponents have less time to respond and fight back.”

Fallon says his source’s information is supported by recent developments. A Jamestown Sun story two weeks ago indicated that the “Bakken Formation has reserves of 30 billion to 40 billion barrels of recoverable oil, or roughly four to five times more than the government’s latest estimate.”

On top of that, according to a Dallas News story out this week, “Growth in the Permian {Basin in West Texas} has, in fact, been shrinking, down almost every month this year, while declines in older wells are trending higher, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

“From ETP’s point of view, if you couple the economic realities that favor Bakken oil with the political reality that a change in leadership in Washington, DC is inevitable, it makes sense that ETP would want to move quickly and aggressively to expand its capacity significantly,” Fallon said.

Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa have worked as partners in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline for over two years. “As we push back against the abuse of eminent domain, the acceleration of climate change, and the threat oil pipelines pose to our land and water, it’s essential that the voices of Iowa’s Indigenous leaders are heard and taken seriously,” concluded Fallon.

Indigenous Iowa raises awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas, and coal have on the environment, particularly on Indigenous lands where government-backed corporate conglomerates practice predatory economics and exploit communities. Indigenous Iowa promotes the development and implementation of renewable energy through the worldview of Indigenous ideologies.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, prevent the abuse of eminent domain, protect Iowa’s soil, air and water, and promote non-industrial renewable energy.

# # #

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An amazing group of people

Dear Friends,

As greedy fossil-fuel tycoons escalate their abuse of eminent domain to steal our land, foul our water, and destroy our planet, we must push back with all the strength and commitment we can muster. Standing Rock became a visual manifestation of our commitment to not back down, and we who were empowered through Standing Rock continue to fight for our future.

In the face of such an enormous crisis as climate change, we must think big and act big. One huge opportunity to make a difference is the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. On Saturday, September 1 following a 9:00 a.m. press conference at the Iowa Utilities Board building at 1375 E. Court Ave in Des Moines, marchers will set out from Birdland Park at 10:00 a.m., tracking the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline for nearly 100 miles. The March finishes in Fort Dodge on Saturday, September 8 in conjunction with the international Rise for Climate day of action with a Celebration of March at 1:30 p.m. at City Square Park.

The March is organized by Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa. It offers an important opportunity to come together and show the world that we won’t back down, that we’re not going away, that we’re in this fight until we achieve justice for all people and sustainability for our Earth.

We march in support of the nine Iowa farmers and Sierra Club who filed a lawsuit against DAPL for abusing eminent domain to build the pipeline. If we win this lawsuit, it could stop the flow of oil from north of Standing Rock all the way to central Illinois!

We also march as a living, moving example of how people can find common ground and create a sustainable future, and to recognize what happened in the past to the Indigenous peoples of this land. The March is, in part, a statement as to why it’s essential that we recognize the sovereignty of Indigenous people today.

We’ll march 10 – 15 miles a day. We’ll camp at farms and in parks. Our power source is a solar collector. We’ll use a trailer designed with environmentally-friendly commodes and solar showers. We’ll eat lots of fresh, locally-grown food from farms that are part of the new vision for agriculture. Farmers, environmentalists, and Indigenous leaders will have deep conversations on a level that, if not unprecedented, is certainly unusual — and critically important.

The people participating in this March are truly an amazing group of individuals, including:

  • Manape LaMere, one of the seven headsmen from Standing Rock;
  • David Thoreson, the first American to sail both directions through the northwest passage while documenting climate change’s impact on the Arctic;
  • Donnielle Wanatee, a Meskwaki woman who stood up against the Dakota Access Pipeline over four years ago — before most people had even heard of the pipeline;
  • Fred Kirschenmann, an organic farmer known internationally for his work on sustainable farm policy;
  • Christine Nobiss, a Plains Cree-Salteaux woman who has earned national recognition as the founder of Indigenous Iowa, and who also works with Seeding Sovereignty;
  • Debbie Griffin, an urban minister whose church in downtown Des Moines is focused on social justice and environmental stewardship.

That’s the short list. The Indigenous, farm, and environmental leaders who’ve come together to make this powerful statement have much to offer.

If you can join the March for a day, please do. Come to our kick-off on September 1, our rally at the end of the March on September 8, and for dinner and conversation in our camp every evening at 5:30 p.m.

Better yet, if you’re able and willing to march, grab a good pair of walking shoes and come march with us.

If you can’t be with us in the flesh, please support us with a donation. A grassroots effort like this needs all the financial help it can get. And yes: spread the word! Like Standing Rock and the many endeavors that have sprung from it, this march has the potential to ignite a prairie fire, one that spreads a message of strength and healing for ourselves and our planet.

— Ed Fallon

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Raising awareness for effective action

Dear Friends,

I’m a big believer in pacing oneself. We’ve got to take time to smell the roses even in the midst of intense struggle. Yet sometimes — often, in all honesty — the demands of fighting for justice require some pretty exhausting days.

Josie Ironshield

The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March will be a string of such days. But the importance of this march — raising awareness about the historic lawsuit that could stop the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline — can’t be understated.

Last Tuesday’s investigative trip to Lyon County to dig into the recent tar sands oil spill was such a day. Well, two days actually, one of them involving numerous meetings and nine hours in a car. Check out the culmination of that trip with this excellent article in the N’West Iowa Review.

Regina Tsosie

Efforts by residents and advocacy groups to monitor the oil clean up will continue, regrettably, as the effort may take over a year. And in a new development that has residents near Iowa’s Great Lakes fuming, soil and plant debris contaminated with tar sands oil is being dumped in their county. Check out this article in the Dickinson County News.

ACTION ALERT: CALL GOV. REYNOLDS AT (515) 281-5211 AND ASK HER TO PUT A STOP TO DUMPING TAR SANDS OIL IN DICKINSON COUNTY.

Christine Nobiss and Dara Jefferson

Sunday was another long day. It started at 5:00 a.m. and landed Kathy and me back in Des Moines after 10:00 p.m. The highlight of the day was the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women rally in Rock Island, Illinois. Check out the livestream, which is both powerful and instructional. I’ve included with this blog a few photos of the inspiring Native leaders who spoke at the event.

Sunday’s trip concluded with a sunset tour of tornado damage in Marshalltown. I was blown away (yeah, bad pun, I know) at how severely the tornado had torn up that community. I’ve been in communication with Chief of Police Mike Tupper and State Rep. Mark Smith. Help will certainly be needed, especially for the low-income families hit hard in northeast Marshalltown. Stay tuned.

Dawson Davenport and Ed Fallon

In other news, a Des Moines Register article reminded us of the one-year anniversary of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya announcing that they’d repeatedly vandalized equipment along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). I caught flack for my quote in the Register story, where I describe Jessica and Ruby’s action as “misguided” because “it alienated a lot of people who we need on our side. So while I respect and admire their passion, I don’t think it was a wise decision.”

Narcissa Trujillo-Nolen, Regina Tsosie, Larry Lockwood, and Dan Eads

For an injustice to end (and DAPL is unjust on so many levels), you have to continually build more and more popular opposition. Fact-finding, community forums, press releases, protests, nonviolent civil disobedience, lawsuits, speaking out at official meetings — all turned public opinion against DAPL. Torching bulldozers and vandalizing valves didn’t. In fact, it gave pro-pipeline forces an excuse to pass legislation this year classifying DAPL as “critical infrastructure” and creating criminal penalties that could scare people away from exercising their First Amendment rights in the future.

Some have cited Gandhi in defense of Jessica and Ruby’s action. But Gandhi never destroyed property and was always open about everything he did. Most significantly, Gandhi was about effective action. Even his symbolic acts were orchestrated with an eye toward moving Indian and global opinion toward supporting India’s independence from Britain.

Gandhi wasn’t just about civil disobedience, which constituted a very small portion of his work. Much of his effort was behind the scenes, creating new structures to replace failed models that only perpetuated injustice. Gandhi was also about political reform, remaking the Indian Congress Party and raising funds to assure that the Party could operate effectively year round, not just during a showy annual convention.

In the DAPL fight, our most effective action is yet to come: the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit over the misuse of eminent domain. That case will probably be decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in September or October. In the meantime, whatever we can do to continue to move public opinion our direction will be helpful. I’ve been dismayed, but not surprised, that the mainstream media have mostly ignored the lawsuit.

Let’s change that. Visit Bold Iowa’s Stop DAPL 2.0 page for ideas on how to get the word out through your local or regional newspaper. Thanks!

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Investigating the Doon tar sands oil spill

Dear Friends,

Nearly one month after the spill, oil still sits by the Little Rock River near Doon, Iowa (Photo Credit: David Thoreson Image)

Christine Nobiss, David Thoreson, and I traveled to northwest Iowa this week to investigate the June 22 tar sands oil spill near Doon (check out our livestream). We spoke with Iowa DNR and Lyon County officials, a landowner, an engineer working at the site, a reporter with the N’West Iowa REVIEW, and KSFY TV (check out KSFY’s story here).

David Thoreson: Water quality advocate, sailor, photo-journalist

We learned a lot!

— Lyon County officials did an excellent job as first responders during the hours and days immediately following the spill. Kudos to them.

Christine Nobiss with Seeding Sovereignty and Indigenous Iowa

— Similarly, the DNR (which has replaced the EPA as the point agency for clean-up) has done a fine job — so far. But there are red flags in terms of the DNR’s ongoing ability to assure adequate clean-up and protection of the public health. As with any big corporation these days, holding BNSF and Conoco/Phillips accountable for full restoration of the damage they caused will require tenacity and persistence — by government officials, the media, and most important, the public.

We have three main concern about state government’s role in the clean up:

(1) The DNR’s lack of clarity on how long it will take,

(2) Uncertainty about the DNR’s role in ongoing water testing, and

(3) State officials’ unfamiliarity with tar sands oil — which presents a unique, complex, and dangerous set of threats and challenges.

Damaged oil trains. (Photo credit: David Thoreson Image)

— While BNSF seems to have acted quickly (unlike the thoroughly botched response of Enbridge after the 2010 tar sands spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River), it remains to be seen whether they’ll follow through. As with two previous major tar sands spills, many observers question whether it’s even possible to fully restore impacted land and waterways. Given the nature of tar sands oil, we would, unfortunately, not be surprised to see irreparable long-term damage.

— Finally, we’re concerned that climate change continues to be ignored. The bottom line is, we must move beyond further exploitation, transport, and consumption of fossil fuels. If we fail, local harm to land, water, and property will be a mere footnote to the existential damage inflicted upon people and planet by a rapidly changing climate on fossil-fuel steroids.

Oil sits on farm ground. (Photo credit: David Thoreson Image)

One further note: We didn’t have time to contact EPA officials, and a call by Christine to BNSF has not yet been returned.

To conclude, we’ve just begun our work regarding this spill. While Bold Iowa’s current focus is to support the Sierra Club and landowners along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline in their lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board, we must continue to provide on-the-ground support to the families, water, and land immediately affected by this spill.

We also have to hold government and corporate officials accountable. These days, that’s often not an easy assignment.

PLEASE CONSIDER A DONATION TO SUPPORT BOLD IOWA’S WORK ON THE DOON OIL SPILL!  We couldn’t accomplish our work without you. Stay tuned for further updates, and thanks for reading.

Ed Fallon

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Whether by pipe or rail, fossil-fuel transport unsafe

Dear Friends,

The oil spill in northwest Iowa has been “contained,” according to authorities. I’ve yet to see the price tag on how much taxpayer money has been spent cleaning up the mess. It also remains to be seen whether the spill will contaminate water supplies downstream in Sioux City and Omaha.

Oil spill in NW Iowa last week. Photo by Des Moines Register. Click for more images.

Since the BNSF Railway train wreck last Friday that caused the discharge of 230,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands oil into the Little Rock River, Florida and Rotterdam have seen their own oil spills. Perhaps I’ve missed others. The bottom line is, whether by train or pipe or cargo ship, oil and gas spills happen all the time! Check out the astounding record in Wikipedia’s “List of pipeline accidents in the U.S. in the 21st century.”

Ironically, just one day before the spill in northwest Iowa, President Trump again did the bidding of the oil and gas industry by dumping President Obama’s initiative to prevent oil spills.

Pushing back against the insanity of these spills, leaks, and presidential executive orders that violate both science and common sense, we must continue to do everything we can to turn hearts and minds away from fossil fuels and toward decentralized, sustainable energy alternatives.

Here are three simple things you can do to help:

1. Share the press release (below) with your friends, co-workers, family members and media contacts.

2. Spread the word about the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March, which will raise awareness about the all-important landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the misuse of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.

3. Come march with us, September 1 – 8! Ok, that’s not a simple ask. But if you’re able, we’d love to have you apply to join us.

Here’s the release on the BNSF spill. Scroll down further for detail on this week’s Fallon Forum. Thanks! – Ed

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 23, 2018 — 1:00 p.m. CDT

Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa issue joint statement on oil spill
Two organizations deride fossil-fuel transport as unsafe — whether by pipe or rail

Leaders of Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa today expressed deep concern for the families, communities, land and water impacted by yesterday’s oil spill in Lyon County, Iowa. At the same time, the organizations’ leaders reminded people that these disasters are inevitable as long as policymakers give preferential treatment to fossil-fuel giants.

“All forms of transport for this deadly substance will fail,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “The poison will be delivered into our systems through the water, food and air we ingest. This cycle will continue until we simply stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground. It took millions and millions of years for the Earth to create these substances and, frankly, there’s a reason most of it is buried deep within her. Let’s just leave it there and demand better, renewable and sustainable energy infrastructure.”

“Whether these big corporations move their product by pipe or train, there are going to be leaks and spills,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who directs Bold Iowa and hosts The Fallon Forum. “This time it was a train, transporting foreign oil through our state. Next time it could be the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we’re fighting in the courts.”

Nine landowners along the pipeline route have joined with the Iowa Sierra Club to sue the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) over illegally authorizing the use of eminent domain to take their land. The case is expected to be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. If the ruling is favorable, it could stop the flow of oil.

To raise awareness about the importance of the lawsuit, Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa are organizing the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. The march begins on September 1 with a press conference at the IUB’s office in Des Moines. Following the pipeline route through Story, Boone and Webster counties, it concludes with an action in Fort Dodge on September 8. Fifty participants representing farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous nations are preparing to walk the entire 90-mile route, averaging roughly 11-12 miles per day.

In April of 2015, Fallon finished a 400-mile walk along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline, from Lee County in the southeast corner of the state to Lyon County in the northwest. “I spoke with a couple dozen landowners and farmers in Lyon County during that walk,” recalls Fallon. “Very few of them supported an oil pipeline running through their land and across their rivers. After what happened yesterday, I bet they’re equally unhappy with oil trains.”

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. Indigenous Iowa raises awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas and coal have on our environment while simultaneously promoting the development and implementation of renewable energy.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, to prevent the abuse of eminent domain, to protect Iowa’s soil, air and water, and to promote non-industrial renewable energy.

# # #

On this week’s Fallon Forum:

  • NW Iowa oil spill: neither trains nor pipes are “safe”
  • Dear Louisiana, Sorry about the dead zone. Please sue us. Love, Iowa
  • The end is near . . . not again!
  • Trump exits UN Human Rights Council
  • Failed US immigration policy splitting families
  • Methane emissions far worse than previously believed
  • Restaurants give up plastic straws
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Fossil-fuel transport unsafe, whether by pipe or rail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 23, 2018 — 1:00 p.m. CDT

Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 331-8034 or cnobiss@gmail.com
Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa issue joint statement on oil spill
Two organizations deride fossil-fuel transport as unsafe — whether by pipe or rail

Leaders of Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa today expressed deep concern for the families, communities, land and water impacted by yesterday’s oil spill in Lyon County, Iowa. At the same time, the organizations’ leaders reminded people that these disasters are inevitable as long as policymakers give preferential treatment to fossil-fuel giants.

“All forms of transport for this deadly substance will fail,” said Christine Nobiss, founder of Indigenous Iowa. “The poison will be delivered into our systems through the water, food and air we ingest. This cycle will continue until we simply stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground. It took millions and millions of years for the Earth to create these substances and, frankly, there’s a reason most of it is buried deep within her. Let’s just leave it there and demand better, renewable and sustainable energy infrastructure.”

“Whether these big corporations move their product by pipe or train, there are going to be leaks and spills,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who directs Bold Iowa and hosts The Fallon Forum. “This time it was a train, transporting foreign oil through our state. Next time it could be the Dakota Access Pipeline, which we’re fighting in the courts.”

Nine landowners along the pipeline route have joined with the Iowa Sierra Club to sue the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) over illegally authorizing the use of eminent domain to take their land. The case is expected to be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall. If the ruling is favorable, it could stop the flow of oil.

To raise awareness about the importance of the lawsuit, Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa are organizing the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. The march begins on September 1 with a press conference at the IUB’s office in Des Moines. Following the pipeline route through Story, Boone and Webster counties, it concludes with an action in Fort Dodge on September 8. Fifty participants representing farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous nations are preparing to walk the entire 90-mile route, averaging roughly 11-12 miles per day.

In April of 2015, Fallon finished a 400-mile walk along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline, from Lee County in the southeast corner of the state to Lyon County in the northwest. “I spoke with a couple dozen landowners and farmers in Lyon County during that walk,” recalls Fallon. “Very few of them supported an oil pipeline running through their land and across their rivers. After what happened yesterday, I bet they’re equally unhappy with oil trains.”

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. Indigenous Iowa raises awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas and coal have on our environment while simultaneously promoting the development and implementation of renewable energy.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, to prevent the abuse of eminent domain, to protect Iowa’s soil, air and water, and to promote non-industrial renewable energy.

# # #

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Wells Fargo under fire

Dear Friends,

Protestors confront officials inside hotel where Wells Fargo shareholders met last week.

Actions have consequences. That’s a lesson each of us learned as kids — hopefully. Now it’s Wells Fargo’s turn to learn about consequences for a string of transgressions that make anything most of us did as kids look, well, like child’s play.

– Wells Fargo continues to finance the Dakota Access Pipeline and other Energy Transfer Partner fossil fuel projects.

Christine Nobiss speaks in front of banner designed by Remy.

– Wells Fargo also finances private prisons, the NRA, and other industries coming under intense public scrutiny.

– Wells Fargo has been “accused of ripping off small business owners on credit card transactions and retaliating against workers who called the ethics hotline.” (Story in WSIS)

– Wells Fargo has “admitted to opening as many as 3.5 million fake accounts, forcing customers into auto insurance they didn’t want and charging unnecessary mortgage fees.” (Story in WSIS)

Shari Hrdina and Sarah Spain with Bold Iowa’s banner.

Wow! Wells Fargo has even been sacked with a $1 billion fine and forced by the Federal Reserve to limit its growth. Its consequences may continue to pile up.

At the grassroots level, during its national shareholders meeting last week in Des Moines, Wells Fargo came under fire both inside and outside the meeting.

Check out this excellent coverage by KCCI TV 8 of the protests outside the meeting.

And here’s what Common Dreams had to say.

What’s next in the growing effort to get Wells Fargo to shape up? That’s under discussion in Iowa and across the country. Stay tuned!

*******

On this week’s Fallon Forum, Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosts with Ed Fallon. We talk with Maya Rao, an author who spent a year at a North Dakota oilfield. Maya’s also a D.C. correspondent with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We also talk with Penny Furgerson of Gateway Dance Theater.

– Up close look at fracking for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken
– Restorative dirt farming to sequester CO2
– Wells Fargo comes under fire
– America’s ongoing crisis of income inequality and wage stagnation
– India’s Chipko movement battles climate change, one tree at a time
– Will Arctic sea ice become a thing of the past?

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Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Dear Friends,

Kim Weaver and Deidre DeJear

{Please come to Bold Iowa’s “Here Comes the Sun” Party on Friday, January 26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Victor’s Mexican Restaurant, 602 US 69 in Huxley. In addition to learning about Lee Tesdell’s solar set-up, we’ll discuss the lawsuit against the Dakota Access pipeline that will soon come before the Iowa Supreme Court. Details on the Bold Iowa website or Facebook.}

Christine Nobiss

This weekend, an estimated five million people turned out for 673 Women’s March events across the U.S. and around the globe. I attended the Des Moines rally where an estimated 6,000 people showed up at the Iowa State Capitol. The organizing team — including former congressional candidate Kim Weaver, West Des Moines City Councilwoman Renee Hardman, and Robin Covington — did an incredible job in a short span of time.

I was encouraged to see the voices of Indigenous women featured prominently in rallies across the country, including Des Moines. Christine Nobiss of Indigenous Iowa gave one of the most passionate and inspiring speeches I’ve ever heard.

Here’s the link to the livestream of Christine’s speech, and the text is included in its entirety, below.

Please check out this week’s Fallon Forum.

Christine Nobiss joins me for the opening segment. Then I discuss the killing of 500,000 bees in northwest Iowa by two young boys. Joel Kurtinitis is my next guest as we talk about the 1.3 million US troops that remain overseas despite claims that ISIS has been destroyed. Kim Weaver joins me to talk about the election focus of this year’s Women’s March, and I give an update on the DAPL lawsuit.

*******

CHRISTINE NOBISS, WOMEN’S MARCH,DES MOINES, JANUARY 20, 2018

I want to say thank you to the organizers for having me on this stage at the last minute. In these settings, Indigenous people are often overlooked. We overcame assimilation and extermination but we are still often ignored or romanticized by settler-descendant society. I had to ask to be here because there was no Indigenous representation in the line-up. I’d also like to say thank you to Ed Fallon and Heather Pearson from Bold Iowa who also asked on my behalf.

I’d like to start by saying why is it so important that there be Indigenous representation here. As the original inhabitants of Turtle Island, we should always be represented at forums like this to pay respect to the land on which we are standing right now. And with that in mind, I’d like to honor the Meskwaki Nation, the only First Nation left in Iowa. And we can’t forget all of the other nations that thrived in this area of the world before they were murdered or removed — the Ioway, the Omaha, the Ho-Chunk, etc.

This March is about many things, but primarily it is about empowering women. The reality is that Native American and Alaska Native women endure the highest rates of rape and assault in this country. Older statistics told us that one in three Native American women will be raped or experience sexual assault in their lifetime, but recently that statistic has been moved to 1 in 2.  A new Department of Justice study shows that of over 2,000 women surveyed:

  • 84 percent of Native American and Alaskan Native women have experienced violence;
  • 56 percent have experienced sexual violence;
  • Over 60 percent had experienced psychological aggression or coercive control;
  • 90 percent have experienced violence at the hands of a non-tribal member.

Experts say these astonishing statistics still underestimate the number of women affected by violence because the infrastructure for women to report and handle incidents is underfunded. Also, there is a lack of local law enforcement on reservations and tribal courts do not have the jurisdiction to prosecute non-tribal members for many crimes like sexual assault and rape–even if they occur on a nation’s territory. And our men our also facing similar statistics.

This leads to my next point. Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: on some reservations in the United States, Native women are murdered at more than 10 times the national average. In Canada, it is 6 times the national average and there are currently over 1000 missing Indigenous women there. It is no different here, where the rate of missing women is astounding but has barely made a dent in mainstream newsources. These women are either dead, ran away or have been sold into the sex trade that exploits our vulnerable population. Here in Iowa, the Meskwaki have taken the initiative to protect their people and have started a program for missing and murdered indigenous women that is led by my good friend Dawson Davenport. He recently created the Rita Papakee Foundation in dedication to this missing Meskwaki woman. It provides resources for families and educates the public about this serious issue.

With all of this being said, I have to ask, do you think Donald Trump and his misogynistic, white supremacist administration is going to help or hinder us in our fight to overcome this awful realty? I think not. This Administration has already announced that they will make cuts to the Department of Justice. This means that the violence against women act is in jeopardy. This act has specific programs under it that are targeted towards Indigenous women because of our crisis status. This is something to keep in mind as we move forward in 2018.

Furthermore, I’d like us to keep in mind that Trump has a vendetta against the Indigenous people of Turtle Island. Back in the 80s he lobbied very aggressively against us and our gaming rights. He has been quoted saying, “Well, I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations.”  In fact, his 27-member Native American Coalition states that his presidency will minimize federal oversight and regulations through the privatization of our lands. He is not doing this for our well-being but to exploit the resources on our land.

It is estimated that Native American land holds about 30 percent of the nation’s coal, 50 percent of potential uranium, and 20 percent of known oil and gas. He wants to deregulate federal control on reservations and allow private entities to entice poverty-worn Nations with money in order to take their land. This is what Winona LaDuke calls predatory economics. This could undo our sovereignty, undo 500 years of resistance and 100 years of policy-making that has led us to a semblance of self-governance.

And, it may not be obvious but the health and safety of Native American women and men are directly linked to the health and safety of our land. It has been reported by many Native people that they feel much safer when they are living within their own communities where identity and purpose are linked to the traditions and cultures that rest on Sovereign territories. Basically, our Indigenous women’s body sovereignty is directly linked to the sovereignty of their first nation. And Trump is systematically and viciously trying to dismantle that.

However,  even with his portrait of Andrew Jackson hanging in the Oval Office, he has yet to realize the tenacity and strength of our people. We were the first to fight a corrupt, imperialistic, genocidal, slave trading, white supremacist government. We were the first environmentalists in this country and the first revolutionaries. And, we have been doing this for over 500 years. We have experienced much more than what he and his administration have even begun to attempt. We have shut down bridges, taken over buildings like Alactraz, and protected sacred areas that rightfully belong to us. We have set up resistance camps for hundreds of years. We have fought in the Walleye Wars, Oka, against Custer, fought for rivers in the northwest, mountains in the southwest, fought against commercial expansion in the Northwest and for the integrity of the ocean in the southeast. We took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we will not to be easily oppressed anymore. We are coming out of the darkness and there are many of us that continue to fight this government and their manifest destiny campaign. Trump is but a manifestation of what this country was truly founded upon. And before I conclude I’d like to pay recognition to the our Latin, African American and Asian American brothers and sisters who have also endured a long history of extreme violence and oppression in this country. I’d also like to recognize the more recent immigrants into this country and the Two Spirit community that are also experiencing the same issues. And I’d like to say thank you to all of the settler descendants that are taking a stand and fighting for a better future for all of us. The imperialist agenda is to divide and conquer, but together we can overcome this.

And I would like to give a shout out to Bold Iowa, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, the Sierra Club and Indigenous Iowa for continuing to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline here in Iowa. Thank you.

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Heed Iowa’s Native Leaders

Dear Friends,

Most of the mainstream media missed it, as did most of Iowa’s political leaders. You might have missed it too, but last week, a truly important event happened in Des Moines.

Rally organizers Ed Fallon of Bold Iowa and Christine Nobiss of Indigenous Iowa, with Christine’s children.

No, it wasn’t Independence Day, although that’s important, and this year’s celebration was unique given the Legislature’s decision to legalize fireworks.

The truly important event was the NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action at the Iowa State Capitol on July 1, spearheaded by Christine Nobiss and Indigenous Iowa. It was small, maybe 150 people. But participants came from all over with a united sense of purpose that will continue to shape the conversation on climate, water and our land well into the future.

Regina Tsosie with the Native American Coalition of the Quad Cities opens the rally with a song.

July 1 showed that Native voices are not backing down in the fight to protect Earth from the full-blown war being waged against her by greed and myopia.

July 1 showed that Indigenous leaders are no longer isolated, and that people from many nations are working together in this struggle. There were at least ten Native nations represented at the rally.

July 1 showed that non-Native allies increasingly understand that, as Native people step forward to assume leadership roles, we must stand with them as supporters and resist the colonial impulse to sweep in, take over and show them how it’s done.

Gabriel Ayala of Tucson, Arizona, headlined the rally with powerful music and words.

I wrote about this truth in one of my blogs from Standing Rock last year, and reprint a portion of it here:

Manape LaMere, a camp leader and one of the seven Elders, invites us to a meeting of camp Elders. Lyssa and I lean into the blizzard for the grueling ten-minute walk from our tent site to the dome.

Donnielle Wanatee of the Meskwaki People speaks.

We assemble in a cold, crowded structure heated by a wood stove. The air is filled with a cocktail of smoke from sage, wood and tobacco. With people constantly coming and going, bursts of blizzard air slip in through the dome’s entrance. The interior never warms up much.

The meeting is long, interesting, important. The Elders talk about tribal unity, and the importance of non-native allies remembering that they are guests and not here to provide leadership. The camp is governed by Native leaders using traditional structures and time-honored procedures. This is likely to be foreign, uncomfortable to non-natives. It’s easy for those of us from a western mindset to slip into a mode of benevolent, well-intentioned colonialism. It’s easy for us to want to take over, insist on a “better” way to do things.

Donnielle Wanatee’s daughter, Loveena Adeline Jefferson

It’s solid advice. White folk still have this imperial mindset, where we’re the ones to fix things, the ones who ride to the rescue.

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but as I listen, Dances With Wolves comes to mind — it takes a white guy, Kevin Costner, to help the Indians figure out how to save themselves (he fails).

At what point will European-Americans, as individuals and collectively, move beyond the failed notion that we have all the answers? Clearly, we have a ways to go if a U.S. Congressman (Steve King) can disparage non-white constituencies as “sub groups” while making the outrageous statement that historically, all valuable contributions come from whites.

State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad and his friend, Jacks.

After each of the Elders speaks, Manape invites me to share what’s happening in Iowa in opposition to the pipeline. I’m honored to have this opportunity, and talk about landowner and farmer resistance, upcoming court hearings, and Jessica Reznicek’s open-ended fast demanding revocation of Dakota Access’ permit.

They appreciate my report and the commitment of their allies in Iowa. But here at Standing Rock, this movement is more than just a fight against the pipeline. It’s a movement of historic proportions, a movement that’s just beginning, a cultural revival of traditions that will supplant the failed, non-sustainable paradigms that have dominated Western civilization.

Lakasha Touches Lightning from Little Creek Camp helps emcee the rally.

I ask Manape what happens after the pipeline fight is over. “The traditional chiefs who’ve been appointed to lead this camp are looking to build a future that is sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Manape. “We’re a community where people are showing up with wonderful technology, whether it’s heating or cooling systems or just general power usage.

“And this new form of government we’re building is breathing life into our people, reviving the significance of our treaties. Some people get it, some people don’t. But what we’re doing is going to save non-Natives as well as Natives.”

I hope you’ll take time to review the photos and video we assembled from July 1. You’ll find it in my Facebook “NoDAPL Rally, Concert and Call to Action” album and Facebook “NoDAPL Rally on July 1, 2017” playlist and in various other places too numerous to list. Also Rodger Routh produced a wonderful summary video. Videos include some powerful speeches by both Native and non-Native leaders. Thanks for continuing to stand together! – Ed

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