December 5, 2016

A major step closer to #NoDAPL victory


On Sunday, December 4, the water protectors at Standing Rock and their allies achieved a historic victory: the Army Corps of Engineers just denied the final permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River.

It shouldn’t have taken months. It shouldn’t have taken the sacrifices it did. It shouldn’t be something we have to fight for at all. But fight we did—and against odds that cynics said we could never overcome, we’re claiming this victory.

But make no mistake—we’re still in for a fight. Here’s what I know right now:

  • The Army Corps’ decision to not grant the final permit is a delay, not a cancellation. They denied the permit for drilling under the Missouri River until a full Environmental Impact Statement is completed—which will happen after Trump takes office.

  • On January 1, many of the payment contracts from the fossil fuel companies that wanted to pump oil through to use the Dakota Access Pipeline will expire. Many of the companies will renegotiate these contracts and choose to keep investing—but this delay will cause some to back out. Everything we can do to highlight the financial instability of the project, such as demanding that banks #DivestFromDAPL, helps our chances of making sure that not one drop of oil ever flows through this pipeline.

  • Energy Transfer Partners, the main owners of DAPL, released a statement implying they were considering drilling regardless of the Corps’ decision, and simply paying the fine. In other words: today’s victory is no excuse to turn a blind eye.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has proven it’s willing to go to inhumane and illegal lengths to defend their profits, and you can bet they won’t surrender easily. Luckily, neither will we.

869 Water protectors at Standing Rock celebrate after the Army Corps' announcement

So, now what? We take a breath before the storm. We know the Trump administration will fight hard to see this pipeline completed. We’ll need to keep supporting the incredible indigenous leadership at Standing Rock, and we’ll fight harder than ever to stop the corporations behind this pipeline.

The same companies invested in Dakota Access are also building massive networks of dirty fossil fuel infrastructure across the continent, from Alberta to Michigan to Oklahoma—which means we have the opportunity to take them on in our own backyards. Uniting against these companies is a direct way to stand with Standing Rock and win the just future we need.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is just one tendril of a larger monster. Our movement won’t stop fighting until no community fears for the safety of their water, no protectors have to take rubber bullets for disagreeing with the oil industry, and no treaty lands are turned into fossil fuel sacrifice zones.

This victory shows our movement's incredible power, and now it’s time to use this momentum to keep fighting and winning.

And we’re already fighting. Last week, I had conversations with amazing organizers from Oregon to Texas—including the young woman rallying high school students to get their cities to take concrete action, an organizer in Oregon listening to landowners and supporting their fight against a natural gas pipeline, and the California students who are helping with #NoDAPL actions across the state.

We deserve to celebrate the victory of the Standing Rock Sioux and all their fellow water protectors, and to revel in the enormity of what we’ve just accomplished. Then, we’re going to get ready to take on our next challenge.

As Eryn Wise of the International Indigenous Youth Council said after the Army Corps’ announcement: “We know that the next presidency stand to jeopardize our work but we are by no means backing down...This is just the beginning.”

After this Dakota Access victory, get plugged into what’s next. Join a Pipeline Resistance Digital Town Hall in your region over the next two weeks to talk about next steps in #NoDAPL solidarity, urgent local battles, and what tactics we can use to continue fighting during the Trump administration.