13:17 GMT +322 October 2019
Listen Live
    In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 photo, Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson, center, walks with Daniel Emory, both of the Ojibwe Native American tribe as they lead a procession to the Cannonball river for a traditional water ceremony at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D.

    Last Chance: Dakota Pipeline Protestors Call on Obama to Halt Construction

    © AP Photo / David Goldman
    US
    Get short URL
    6129
    Subscribe

    Demonstrators opposed to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline are counting on outgoing US President Barack Obama to stop the project, film producer Steven Tabakin told Radio Sputnik.

    Around 2,000 US veterans have joined protestors in North Dakota rallying against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion project to transport more than four hundred thousand barrels of oil daily across the Missouri River and other ecological habitats. 

    The proposed pipeline is to extend 1,168 miles (1,880 km) across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. 

    Opponent to the project include local Native Americans, who argue that the pipeline could poison the local water supply and destroy sacred sites near the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  

    Hundreds of activists have spent months protesting, and there have been recent reports of increasing use of force by local law enforcement, including firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon at protestors in sub-zero temperatures.

    This weekend some 2,000 US veterans are joining the protest. They will form a human shield around them so they can have "a moment of peace and take a little bit of pressure off them," a spokeswoman for Veterans Stand for Standing Rock said.

    A man rests on top of a hill inside of the Oceti Sakowin camp as water protectors continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 2, 2016
    © REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
    A man rests on top of a hill inside of the Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 2, 2016
    Steven Tabakin, an award-winning New-York based film producer, told Radio Sputnik that the Dakota Access Pipeline is a result of corporate interests trumping those of local people.

    "It's very scary when the government is being used as a tool of corporate interests. This pipeline is not in the interests of the environment, it's not in the interests of our energy needs, it is in the interests of oil companies who will be shipping this fuel offshore and making profits. They're using the government and suppressing our civil liberties and committing major human rights violations to achieve those goals," Tabakin said.

    Protests at pipeline construction sites began in the spring, but they are only now gaining wider media as law enforcement begins a crackdown on the protestors. 

    Tabakin said that there are several reasons for the limited media coverage. One is the harsh weather conditions and relative isolation of the protest sites. Another is the tendency to dismiss environmental protestors as fringe groups.

    "There is a tendency to perceive any kind of protests like these as fringe operators, but these are not radical people, these are very peaceful stakeholders in this land, the indigenous people in particular and the people who depend upon these water supplies."

    A woman watches the sunrise in Oceti Sakowin camp as water protectors continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. December 3, 2016
    © REUTERS / Stephanie Keith
    A woman watches the sunrise in Oceti Sakowin camp as "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. December 3, 2016
    In September the US Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior announced a temporary block on construction activity, in spite of a district court ruling in favor of the project. The government said that the US Army will not authorize constructing the pipeline on Army Corps land around Lake Oahe until it looks again at previous approvals, in the light of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws.

    President-elect Trump endorsed the pipeline on Friday, and seems unlikely to stop the project. Tabakin called on the outgoing US government to take action to prevent the project from going ahead. 

    "Ultimately, the Obama administration is going to have to do something. Whether it's keeping the peace, or speaking out, or using what remaining tools they have available to them to cool this down. To stop, go back and look at all the regulations that exist that have been ridden roughshod over by piecing together a whole series of small projects rather than looking at the environmental impact of the whole thing," Tabakin said.

    Related:

    North Dakota Police To Block Supplies From Entering Camp of Pipeline Protesters
    North Dakota Governor Orders Emergency Evacuation of Pipeline Protest Area
    Hundreds Protest Against Dakota Pipeline on Thanksgiving
    Tags:
    oil, Dakota Access Pipeline, United States, North Dakota, South Dakota
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik