With federal easement in hand, the folks at Energy Transfer Partners say they’ve already begun construction on the portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under the Lake Oahe reservoir. That crossing was the last barrier to the pipeline’s operation. The company had argued in court previously that they expect to be able to complete it within 60 days, and begin pumping oil in 80.
That’s good news for those of us who support the pipeline, but I’m sure it has to be galling for Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault and supporters of his tribe’s fight against the project.
Which is why Archambault deserves our thanks for not re-igniting the violent and unlawful protests we’ve seen over the last several months.
It must be tempting to send out a new call to bring left wing activists to our state to renew the protests. It’s heady stuff, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and doing interviews with national media personalities. But Archambault has resisted that temptation. He’s remained steadfast in his call that the protest camps be dismantled and that any future fights against the pipeline take place in legislatures and court rooms.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]It must be tempting to send out a new call to bring left wing activists to our state to renew the protests. It’s heady stuff, rubbing shoulders with celebrities and doing interviews with national media personalities.[/mks_pullquote]
That’s no doubt why the “last stand” protests, in the wake of the Army Corps issuing an easement for the pipeline, have largely fizzled at the national level. Though dozens of events were scheduled around the country, not many people showed up. “[T]he scale of these events seem to be pretty underwhelming thus far,” writes John Sexton.
Here in North Dakota there was a similar reaction. The few protesters remaining in the camps, sitting amid the mountains of garbage left behind by the celebrity-backed protests of previous months, “quietly absorbed the news without a ripple,” reports the Bismarck Tribune.
It’hard to #StandwithStandingRock when Standing Rock wants you to go home.
Last summer Archambault put out a national call to indigenous peoples and political activists to join Standing Rock in fighting the pipeline. I think even Archambault himself would admit that things got out of control, and his unwillingness to cooperate with the State of North Dakota in addressing the violent and extreme elements of the movement he sparked is something he should be ashamed of.
His actions last year were irresponsible.
But that’s water under the bridge now. Going forward Archambault seems committed to a more peaceful sort of resistance, even in the face of likely defeat.
For that he deserves some respect.