Resistance at Standing Rock to pipelines, profits and environmental devastation

first_imgUnder Indigenous leadership, the determination of thousands who have gathered at Standing Rock is having a profound impact in exposing the environmental destruction caused by the mad profit drive of the oil industry.Oil and gas corporations, the banks standing behind them, and the U.S. government that supports capitalist exploitation have been complicit in suppressing the immediate and long-term consequences of oil fracking, and the construction of a lethal network of porous pipelines. These pipelines have a history of rupturing and polluting streams, rivers and underground aquifers.Pipeline endangers allThe Standing Rock Sioux and potentially 17 million others are threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline route, a 1,170-mile oil pipeline that would run from North Dakota to Illinois. Data on oil and gas pipeline safety in the U.S. confirms a history of spills, contamination, injuries and deaths.Since 1986, there have been nearly 8,000 incidents, resulting in more than 500 immediate deaths, more than 2,300 injuries and nearly $7 billion in damage. Oil is by far the most commonly spilled substance, followed by natural gas, gasoline, diesel, propane and jet fuel.Pipeline accidents have dumped an average of 76,000 barrels per year or more than 3 million gallons. This is equivalent to 200 barrels of oil pouring into the land and water every day for 30 years. (Center for Biological Diversity)Reasons for pipeline spills include damage during excavation operations, metal failure, improper operation and corrosion. In most cases, cleanup is only partially successful, leaving tens of thousands of barrels of oil on land or in water.According to an Associated Press analysis of federal data: “As U.S oil production has soared, so has the number of pipeline accidents. Since 2009, the annual number of significant accidents on oil pipelines has shot up almost 60 percent, matching the rise in U.S. crude oil production.” (AP, May 23, 2015)Danger: pipelines and oil trainsIn the last five years, 423 oil trains have crashed or spilled oil in the U.S., with $45 million in damages. A train derailment and explosion of oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota totally destroyed the Quebec community of Lac-Megantic in 2013. Forty-six people died in the flames. In West Virginia, oil burned for days after 26 tanker cars derailed and 19 caught on fire in 2015. Oil spilled into a nearby river. Damages totaled more than $23 million.These catastrophes gave rise to a movement challenging all transport of highly flammable oil by rail. But the oil industry simultaneously pushes for both pipelines and increased crude-by-rail, in an attempt to pit movements, struggling against each method, against each other.Although pipelines spill three times as much crude oil as oil trains, all these forms of transport — pipelines, rail and truck — are dangerous and ruinous to the environment.What is happening now at Standing Rock challenges us to look at the long-term damage the entire oil industry is wreaking on the earth and the global climate. Sustainable forms of energy, based on the sun, wind and water, are increasingly viable. Calculations based only on immediate profit are both criminal and shortsighted.Profits determine pipelinesPipelines are by far the cheapest way to move gasoline or oil. Transport by rail and truck costs about $30 a barrel more. The huge difference in profit margins, not the danger of transport by rail, drives pipeline construction.At the height of the Standing Rock struggle, corporate media have been almost totally silent as two states, Alabama and Georgia, declared a state of emergency due to a Sept. 9 pipeline spill in Shelby County, Ala. ( ruptured fuel line carries refined gasoline from Houston to the East Coast. By Sept. 12, the break had leaked over 250,000 gallons of gasoline.Capitalism is driven to maximize profit. Every decision is based not on human need nor on environmental safety nor even on the future of the planet. Corporate decisions are based on what is most immediately profitable.Power plants, pipelines and U.S. land theftThrough the 1950s and into the early 1960s, the U.S. government seized hundreds of thousands of acres of land remaining to Indigenous nations, in an aggressive plan to build dams along the Missouri River Basin.One was the Oahe Dam, creating the Oahe Lake, in the area that is now being defended against DAPL by the Oceti Sakowin (the Great Sioux Nation). According to Native American Netroots, that dam destroyed more Native land than any other public works project in U.S. history by flooding 90 percent of the timber and bottomland of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River nations.Their villages and towns were destroyed for agribusiness irrigation, and for a big-business power plant to supply electricity to much of the north-central U.S.Among the Oceti Sakowin activists now stopping the DAPL pipeline, there are people who remember their land before its expropriation and flooding for Big Energy profits.Though further impoverished by the loss of their lands, the Standing Rock Sioux have resisted granting applications for oil drilling or pipelines. Other impoverished Indigenous nations have felt forced to turn to the profit-promising made by Big Energy oil drilling, fracking and coal mining corporations in order to build their tribal economies.Dallas Goldtooth, a Mdewakanton Dakota and Dene organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, points out that the Standing Rock resistance is creating solidarity against environmental devastation. He describes the 189 resolutions or solidarity statements with Standing Rock from Native nations as “amazing, historic. … A lot of tribes that are heavily dependent on resource extraction have also come out in support. Three Affiliated Tribes — 30 percent of the Bakken oil shale is under their lands. … The Navajo Nation … heavily dependent on coal. The Crow Nation … all coal. All sent statements of solidarity. … It opens up a door for more organizing.” ( Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, was part of a recent Workers World delegation to Standing Rock.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Farm Groups React to USDA $12B Aid Program

first_img Facebook Twitter SHARE By Hoosier Ag Today – Jul 24, 2018 Facebook Twitter Many farm groups have responded after President Donald Trump and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the $12 billion program to assist farmers in response to trade damage. Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron said, “While the president’s announcement today of $12 billion in agricultural assistance will provide temporary relief to Hoosier farmers, the importance of trade and open markets is essential to supporting our farmers’ bottom-line. Farm income has dropped about 50% over the last 5 years. Recent drops in corn and soybean prices compound the real dollars lost to Indiana farmers, their families, rural communities and our state’s economy. The administration’s announcement of the assistance package is confirmation that our concerns have been heard but there is still work to do. We will continue to express the importance of reliable trade agreements to Indiana’s representatives in Congress.”North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), said, “NCGA appreciates the Administration’s recognition of the harm to producers caused by tariffs and trade uncertainty. The fine print will be important. We know the package won’t make farmers whole but look forward to working with USDA on the details and implementation of this plan…Corn farmers prefer to rely on markets, not an aid package, for their livelihoods. NCGA will continue to advocate for Administrative actions including: rescinding the section 232 and 301 tariffs; securing NAFTA’s future; entering new trade agreements; allowing for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends such as E15; and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard as intended. We believe these additional actions, which would come with no cost, would result in stronger market demand for farmers.”John Heisdorffer, American Soybean Association (ASA) President, said, “U.S. soybean producers want to see President Trump succeed in meeting his trade campaign goals of achieving better trade deals and greater market access. And, we appreciate that he has recognized our loss in exports and lower prices and provided some immediate relief. However, producers cannot weather sustained trade disruptions.” He added, “Our best course of action is to expand other markets and develop new ones to buy the soybeans we’re not selling to China. This means finishing the NAFTA negotiations as soon as possible so we can begin talks on new bilateral agreements with other key soybean markets including Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.” Home Indiana Agriculture News Farm Groups React to USDA $12B Aid Program SHARE Farm Groups React to USDA $12B Aid Program Previous articleHouse Vote on Guest Worker Bill in DoubtNext articleBraun: “I’d Love to be on Ag Committee” Hoosier Ag Todaylast_img read more