“Water not Pipeline! People are not Pipelines!” was the rallying chant that hundreds of New Mexicans were shouting in unison in front of the US Army Corps of Engineers building in Albuquerque New Mexico on Tuesday November, 15.
The effort was part of a National Day of Action with demonstrations going on across a number of different cities of the U.S. and the world on the same day, with the goal of calling for the crude oil pipeline project to be rejected.
The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a 1,172 mile, 30-inch diameter underground pipeline that will transport crude oil from the bakken oil fields in North Dakota and travel through South Dakota, Iowa, and end up in Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline is being planned by Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas corporation Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
The benefits of the pipeline include “greater energy independence for the United States,” and job creation according to Energy Transfer.
However, The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe alongside various other indigenous tribes, and climate change activists have resisted vigorously the completion of the pipeline stating that the pipeline will cause potential harm to the environment.
The pipeline will rip through ancestral homelands, threaten water, sacred places, and the future of their children, according to Standing Rock.
Protesters have assembled at the project site near Canonball North Dakota in attempts to halt the project. Here – many of them have been met with tear gas, rubber pellets, and bean bag rounds used by law enforcement in attempts to disperse the activists according to journalist Erin Shrode.
Trump’s Stance Worries But Doesn’t Break New Mexican Anti-Pipeline Tribe Members
President-elect Donald Trump backs fossil fuel drilling and he plans to speed energy industry development and upgrade the country’s oil and gas infrastructure according to comments he made during a speech in Bismarck, North Dakota in May 2016.
In an interview with CBS this morning, Kelsy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer, said he is “100 percent confident” that Trump will ensure that the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline be finished.
This has Albuquerque anti-pipeline activists on edge.
“It’s kind of scary just in terms of who he (President-elect Trump) is selecting as cabinet members because tribes are underneath the secretary of interior. It’s really important. It’s critical who is in there because that’s basically who’s in charge to give the greenlight for projects like these,” said Chamisa Edmo, Indigenous Rights Activist from the Navajo, Shoshone Bannock and Blackfoot tribes.
“He’s (President-elect Trump) going to be completely for it…it’s going to affect everybody,” said Marcus Slim, Tribal member from the Navajo and San Felipe Pueblo Tribes. “…and it’s not just going to stop there, it’s going to through a lot more reservations, going to go through a lot of open land. We’re going to lose a lot of land, a lot of our national land that we’re barely holding onto now.”
But Although many anti-pipeline protester are worried they are still hopeful that the pipeline can be stopped through community power.
“Yeah it is scary and not good, but I think if we continue to stand together then we can create a collective voice that isn’t just tribes so it’s not just tribes standing alone,” Edmo said.
Keith Yepa, Activist from Jemez Pueblo Reservation said that collectiveness is what keeps him resisting against the pipeline.
“We are all one, unite as one, we are as one people, we are natives…we are
whatever indigenous community we come from, it doesn’t matter, but we are all in solidarity of our people at Standing Rock.”
“This is such a serious issue this is not just a native issue, this is not just a indigenous, this isn’t just an activist issue, this is a human issue,” said Alysia Coriz, UNM sophomore student and Kiva Club Member. “To the people out there in standing rock we stand with you in solidarity from Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
As it stands, President Barack Obama has yet to make any decisions on the fate of the construction of the project, but a decision is expected to come soon according to The Washington Examiner.