“In other Dakota Access pipeline news, last Thursday, Morton County, North Dakota, issued an arrest warrant for Amy Goodman. The charge: criminal trespass, a misdemeanor offense. The case, State of North Dakota v. Amy Goodman, stems from Democracy Now!’s coverage in North Dakota over the Labor Day weekend of the Native American-led protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters” (Democracy Now, 2016)
Here the full text:
The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”
“The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its allies from other indigenous nations are protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Once finished – the pipeline will bring oil almost 1200 miles from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota all the way to Illinois. Although the project was approved by the government -the Standing Rock Sioux say their interests and historical claims were not taken into account when that decision was made. Which is why they’ve now brought their protest right here to Washington, DC. Today – the Standing Rock Sioux asked a federal judge to put the Dakota Access pipeline on hold. They also led a really outside the court – which was attended by people from around the country – including actresses Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley. Joining me now is the woman who MC’d today’s rally – Bobbi Jean Three Legs – a Youth Organizer with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe” (The Big Picture RT, 2016)
Cannon Ball, N.D. – The curbing of peaceful protests at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction is in violation of our core principles of free speech.
Jennifer Cook, policy director of the ACLU of North Dakota has released the following statement on the government action regarding ongoing demonstrations at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction in Cannon Ball, ND.
“The right to protest is fundamental to our democracy and the interference with that right by agents of the counties and the state of North Dakota violates both the spirit and letter of the First Amendment. As the courts in this state have recognized, the First Amendment forbids the enactment of laws ‘abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.’ The protest at the Dakota Access pipeline is precisely the type of assembly protected by the First Amendment. Peaceful protest is at the core of the First Amendment and restrictions to such activity, such as the closing of highways with the effect of preventing assembly or effective messaging of protesters, should be viewed skeptically. Law enforcement agents have a duty to ensure that the rights of protesters are protected, not just the rights of corporations. While law enforcement officers have a right to ensure the safety of all of our citizens, this goal should be achieved by ensuring that all citizens, including protesters, are protected and that there are enough police in place to prevent violence, but not prevent peaceful protest or assembly.
The ACLU of North Dakota supports peaceful protests and encourages protesters to know their rights. Anyone who believes their First Amendment rights have been violated should contact us at www.aclund.org/get-help.”