Texas Pipeline Worker Sent Home

Dear Friends,

ed-and-jane-on-covers-full-sizeFirst, a reminder about our exciting event this Sunday with Jane Kleeb and Josh Fox. We’ll watch Fox’s new film on climate, and Jane will update us on the battle to stop the pipeline. We’ll enjoy music from Josh and some of our Native allies and remarks from Adam Mason with Iowa CCI. Cyd’s Catering is bringing some wonderful snacks made from Iowa-grown food. Oh, and I’ll emcee, assuring that no other theater in America this weekend will feature a state’s “Number One Hellraiser” and another state’s “Most Controversial Woman.” Really, you don’t want to miss this. Details here.

Shirley Gerjets and her unwelcome guests: A large security force and an even larger pipeline.

Shirley Gerjets and her unwelcome guests: A large security force and an even larger pipeline.

What else don’t you want to miss?  #FarmersDefenseCamp! This week, we set up an encampment on land owned by Shirley Gerjets, a farmer who has fought the pipeline every step of the way. While the camp itself can accommodate about twenty overnight campers (let us know if you’re interested), we hope hundreds turn out for the actions, especially this coming Saturday. Deatils here.

If you ever feel that our efforts are in vain, well here’s proof that they’re not. Kudos to Marisa Cummings and her daughter for standing strong and speaking out against injustice. And thank you to Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Davis for pushing Dakota Access to do the right thing, and for pipeline fighter Heather Pearson for doing such a great job at being our liaison with local law enforcement. Here’s the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 26, 2016

Contact:
Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa: 515-238-6404ed@boldiowa.org
Marisa Cummings, 319-621-6608mail4marisa@gmail.com

Dakota Access Employee Who Made Sexual Solicitation of Water Protector and Daughter is Fired, Sent Back to Texas
Dakota Access worker heard asking, “How much for the little girl?” out of his pickup trick window during Bold Iowa direct action on Oct. 15

Des Moines — The Dakota Access employee who made a sexual solicitation of a peaceful female Water Protector and her daughter during Bold Iowa’s nonviolent direct action on Oct. 15 has been terminated and sent back to Texas, Bold Iowa has learned.

The Dakota Access employee was driving a silver Ford pickup truck with Texas license plates when he shouted at the woman and her daughter, “How much for the little girl?”

Calhoun County sheriff William Davis reports that the employee, whose identity was not disclosed, has been identified by Dakota Access, and terminated from his position with the company as a result of the disgusting incident.

“When one asks to purchase a woman of color near a pipeline site, you evoke a feeling of threat and intimidation,” said Marisa Cummings, who along with her daughter was the target of the solicitation by the Dakota Access employee on Oct. 15. “Native American women are found missing and murdered throughout the oil fields of America and Canada. We are more likely to be raped by a non-Native male than any other racial group. Human trafficking and rape is a reality for our women. We want the man who attempted to intimidate and harass us held accountable for his actions.  I am disappointed that local law enforcement did not allow us to file charges.  I will not pat the Dakota Access Pipeline workers on the back for terminating the employee. The action against their employee was only taken after we went to the media and released our story and gained a public outcry for his actions.”

Video of the sexual solicitation by a Dakota Access employee of a woman and her daughter during Bold Iowa’s Oct. 15 action may be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1197616650328457/

Bold Iowa sees this incident as indicative of what has already been documented at “mancamps” set up by pipeline companies to house construction and oilfield workers — increased violence, drugs, and human trafficking.

To date, more than 2,500 people have signed the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance, which is supported by Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, CREDO Action, and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future.

View the Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance here.

On Oct. 25, Bold Iowa set up an encampment in Calhoun County with farmer Shirley Gerjets, whose land was taken against her wishes via eminent domain by Dakota Access to build the pipeline.

(DETAILShttp://boldiowa.org/action/nodaplcamp)

On Aug. 31, 30 people were arrested during a Bakken Pledge of Resistance direct action to stop pipeline construction in Boone County.

On Sept. 10, 19 people were arrested at a Bakken Pledge direct action in Boone County.

On Sept. 22, more than 175 people participated in a “Midwest Mobilization” action that stopped construction on the pipeline in Boone County.

On Oct. 15, landowner Cyndy Coppola and Bold Iowa director Ed Fallon were arrested on Cyndy’s own property, which lies inside the pipeline route.

Bold Iowa Action Teams (BATs) have also participated in smaller, decentralized direct actions to stop construction on the pipeline at various locations over the past few weeks — including on Sept. 21 in Webster County, and at other sites in Boone County and near Farrar, in Polk County.

Between Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance actions, and the nonviolent actions that have been organized by allies at the “Mississippi Stand” encampment in southeast Iowa, to date close to 170 arrests of Pipeline Fighters have been made in Iowa while standing up to stop Dakota Access.

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Awaiting presidential action on the pipeline

Dear Friends,

The Bakken Pipeline poses serious risks to Iowa’s farmland and waters. Yet the project’s impacts have not been fully assessed by the Army Corps of Engineers, despite what the MAIN Coalition claims in a recent opinion piece in The Des Moines Register [Obama urged to allow pipeline to proceed, April 24] and in a letter MAIN sent to President Obama.

The Corps has a stated responsibility “for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources” on projects like the Bakken Pipeline. That includes the Corps responsibility to the entire area affected by the pipeline, not merely segments of it.

This charge demands a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the full range of impacts, including climate change and tribal cultural resources.

Landowners, advocates and the Tribal Nations are not the only ones urging the Corps to do its job. The Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency stated their concerns as well. Yet the Corps so far has refused to conduct a full and comprehensive EIS.

Without an EIS, the threat to primary water sources for farmers, ranchers, tribes and city dwellers throughout the four-state region and beyond can never be fully assessed.

Without an EIS, the likely impact on climate change won’t even enter the conversation.

Without an EIS, concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes about potential damage to the Missouri River watershed and other waters of the United States won’t be heard.

From what I can gather, the MAIN Coalition exists solely to promote the Bakken Pipeline. So, it should come as no surprise that fossil-fuel interests dominate MAIN’s membership.

MAIN’s letter to President Obama was sent exactly one week after I sent a letter on the same subject to the president. That letter was co-signed and co-authored by Jane Kleeb of Bold Alliance, Dallas Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network, and Frank James of Dakota Rural Action. The letter has since been signed by over twenty Iowa organizations opposed to the pipeline — organizations that Wiederstein characterizes as “outside groups” and as  “environmental groups opposed to all forms of energy.”

Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. MAIN is on extremely shaky ground to disparage criticism of the pipeline as agitation from “outside groups.” I’ll remind readers that Dakota Access is from Texas.

Furthermore, our letter’s signatories stand with tribal leaders who claim the Corps failed to properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the pipeline’s impacts.

The letter reads: “{T}he Corps is mandated to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes consulting and coordinating with the aforementioned tribes on the identification of historic and tribal properties that may be adversely affected by pipeline construction and route.”

Not only do we stand with the tribes, but some of us will run with them as well on May 3, when a 500-mile relay led by a young Lakota woman name Bobbi Jean Three Legs arrives at noon at the Corps’ headquarters in Omaha, to tell the Corps that pipelines are not wanted on native lands.

Back to President Obama and his role in the Bakken Pipeline. I’ll quote from our letter:

“Dear President Obama. Your rejection of the Keystone Pipeline was truly historic, and we again commend you for that bold act of foresight and leadership. Your decision sent a strong statement about the importance of protecting land, water and property rights. It also conveyed the message that climate change is a clear and present danger demanding America’s full commitment to ending our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

“With that frame of reference, we ask you in the strongest possible terms to exert the same clarion leadership with regards to the proposed Bakken Pipeline.”

I wish I were a fly on the wall of the president’s office as he considers our letter and the letter from MAIN. These letters sum up his options.

Will the president tell the Corps to ignore its historic responsibility of “maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources,” thus allowing Dakota Access to rush forward on a pipeline that has generated so much public backlash?

Or will he hear the plea of those with no vested financial interest in oil or pipelines, those who will suffer with the destruction of farmland, water and habitat?

Given the legacy President Obama has built, I believe he will side with the people, with our water, our land, our property rights and our planet.

{If you want to see what I wrote above as it appeared in The Des Moines Register on Sunday, go to “Army Corps refuses to assess pipeline’s impacts.”}

On today’s Fallon Forum:
– Filmmaker Jon Bowermaster discusses his film, Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now!.
– Dairy farmer Francis Thicke talks about the confusion over nitrogen pollution, in large part due to Big Ag’s campaign of disinformation.
– Defenders of Exxon’s decades-long campaign of deceit fight back, even as Exxon’s quarterly profits hit a ten-year low.
– Kevin McCarthy with the Iowa Attorney General’s office discusses progress being made to address sentencing disparities for non-violent offenders.

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on 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
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Copters for Kids

Dear Friends,

{Check out and “like” my Facebook Page for pics, videos and impressions of the presidential candidates . . . and for updates on my exploits with chickens and organic gardening.}

“Hey kids! Forget the pony rides. This year, Crazy Uncle Donald’s taking you for a spin in his monster-copter.”

And thus, Iowa’s premiere annual showcase of cultural, culinary and agricultural glory morphs from State Fair to Trump Fare. Hopefully, 2015 will be an anomaly, with future fair-goers spared the pomp, press and privilege of a Donald Trump visit.

Trump and Chopper

Trump and Chopper

Or, for that matter, a Hillary Clinton visit. Like Trump, Clinton refused to appear on the Presidential Soapbox. And unlike the other candidates, instead of entering the fairgrounds through a public gate, Clinton slipped in to an exclusive corner of the grounds, where the fair’s big-money donors park their RVs for the week. Welcoming Clinton to the fair was a hand-picked entourage including three of Iowa’s Democratic kingmakers: Tom Harkin, Jerry Crawford and Bill Knapp.

(Warning: incoming vent. “Democratic kingmakers” . . . unless the Democrat is too progressive, too critical of big business. In 2010, Crawford had no qualms backing Republican Bill Northey over Democrat Francis Thicke for Secretary of Ag. Similarly, Knapp had no qualms backing Terry Branstad over Jack Hatch for Governor last year. Really, the two aren’t so much Democratic kingmakers as they are Status-quo King-and-Queen makers.)

In terms of pandering to the national media circus, the Trump and Clinton campaigns can declare their Iowa State Fair visits a success. In terms of providing access to the voting public, both candidates failed miserably — by design.

Fortunately, most presidential candidates seem willing, if not eager, to submit themselves to the exposure and risk provided by the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox. Shari Hrdina and I listened to and/or spoke with six of the candidates. Here are my impressions.

Continue Reading →

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