Standing Rock Protest is Powerful

Largely out of the headlines, the ongoing protest on Standing Rock is shining a bright light on how the big-moneyed interests with political clout steamroll the disadvantaged in order to get what they need.

But in a rare David-vs-Goliath standoff, the Sioux tribespeople of Standing Rock Reservation are learning that they are not powerless. Their refusal to roll over and allow an oil pipleline to be built on their lands is growing into one of the largest resistance movements in recent years, drawing supporters from all over the country, and forcing the discussion of "Where do we draw the line?" in regards to our pursuit of depleting natural resources.

Activist Mark Morey joins the podcast this week to provide context on this unfolding conflict:

I think we are in an era of self-organizing emergent social revolutions. I do not know what to call them. Even the Bernie Sanders campaign had qualities that unexpectedly, hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands, 50,000 people coming together for a candidate during a Democratic primary was just unheard of. Crashing all records.

This is another one of those in my mind. This particular one was started by teenagers and youth, believe it or not. When you do the research they stood up and they were the first ones to put their campsite down in that very location in Cannonball because they had this very deep and real sense of their future being threatened. I saw one of the teenagers, they went all the way to D.C. to speak with Bernie Sanders. Bill McKibben was there yesterday or the day before.

So there she is. She's 16 years old and she says, I grew up on a reservation in the middle of this great place where my ancestors had been living here forever. There's a kind of authority that comes from that lineage. They say clean water is our heritage and our right, and what we're standing for the way we do things. She starts to cry thinking the oil corporations don't care about her tribe's children. The pipeline was going to run north of Bismarck, North Dakota, up there in the watershed, but they deemed it too dangerous for those residents so they ran it down by the reservation

That's the pattern. Social justice and environmental damage are often correlated because they are at the margins and there's no media there. You can ship uranium to the Navajo or whatever. What's unusual is, standing up against literally the machine, the bulldozer, or standing up against the billion dollar oil energy companies. And these are the poorest people in our country. They are third-world poverty, 70% poverty people with their causes of death being things like alcoholism, and suicide, and diabetes -- the kinds of things we see as the leading cause of death from depression and oppression. To see them stand up I think ultimately it has this mythic quality to it. The ultimate weakest, smallest, poorest person with the greatest spirit and most righteous stance: that you cannot drink oil. Once this thing gets routed, the 16 million people living downstream will all be affected.

It magnetized not just individuals to come help them, but all of the tribes in the U.S. sent representatives there. There are over 250 representative tribes there, which has never happened before in the history of the U.S. They're putting up flags -- there's this long corridor of nations, sovereign nations, native peoples’ flags. There's this incredible sense of an indigenous resurrection and power to the message they have for the modern world. Of course it's in the context of climate change, all the stuff that is coming out around the end of nature as we know it. Perhaps these people have something to offer us. Also, non-native people are going there and offering resources and help around the country. There is something like 7,000 people camping there now. 

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Mark Morey (41m:55s).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

One only needs to spend time with your grandkids digging carrots, picking fresh strawberries, watching the geese fly south or any of the other natural activities,that have become so foreign to our current developed world, to understand where this situation is leading. Watching the faces of these little ones light up in the shear joy of discovering the bounty the natural world provides, should make us all pause and consider what this podcast identifies. Humans continue to ignore their connection to the world and wallow in our hubris of development. Mark Morey has captured one of the many reasons I have opted to live rural and remotely connected. There is hope, if we chose to match our actions with these sentiments. Try watching the movie Damnation, for an example of what can be accomplished when carefully considering options. Again, another cogent podcast; well done PP!

For those interested in learning more and maybe helping out, here are the links we discussed at the end of the podcast:

Mark Morey's site:
Crowdfund to support $ Standing Rock Protectors:
Follow the story:
1. Mark Morey's facebook page for all sorts of direct native media from the camps
2. If you want to drive out with a load of supplies, I'll help you be effective and relevant to current needs: (RedCloud Defense Center)

Your duty to vote is "doodie". No point arguing about which candidate is more dangerous then the other.

Democratic Leadership Council: Financed by whom? the Koch Brothers, and who did they put in the presidency? why Bill Clinton, of course.



This is probably a tempest in a teapot. The only real issue is whether or not the Standing Rock Sioux had an adequate opportunity to air their concerns and have them addressed. The rest of the show has been routine acquisition of pipeline right-of-way on privately owned lands and the usual governmental paperwork that takes care of the legalities of such projects.
The pipeline will eventually provide the safest and most economical means of transporting domestically produced crude oil to market. Like it or not, believe that it only postpones doom or not, the fact is that domestically produced shale and tight sands oil is the reason that gasoline prices have dropped to the $2 range. While the Bakken could not be profitably drilled at present oil prices, it would be stupid not to use the oil that can be produced now.

The following link will provide some balance to what has been reported on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While some of the things that you say and some of the points made in the link are technically correct, they do not equal a strong argument in favor of the pipeline.
When getting a large project approved there is supposed to be an Environmental Impact Statement. Big Oil got around that by getting small permits for small sections of pipeline. Some government officials it seems were so eager to help our polluting industries that they helped them get around the EIS.

A few other points:

Just because you say tribal councils were in on the discussions doesn't mean that they acted with the approval of rank-and-file Indians. Many Indians see the elected leaders of their tribes as "apples" (only red on the outside).

Also I don't see anything about EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested). Or any discussion about how many years the Bakken will remain fruitful - every boom leads to a bust and the bust may be coming sooner than you think.

How much "safer" are pipelines than rail? You make an assertion but provide no statistics (except for a reference to $2 gasoline which is lulling Americans into a false sense of security).

Extractive Industries and their PR organizations have lied to us before. I'm with the Indians at Standing Rock North Dakota. 

Why There Is Trump (The Automatic Earth)

[quote]Tons of smart and less smart folks are breaking their heads over where Trump and Brexit and Le Pen and all these ‘new’ and scary things and people and parties originate, and they come up with little but shaky theories about how it’s all about older people, and poorer and racist and bigoted people, stupid people, people who never voted, you name it.

But nobody seems to really know or understand. Which is odd, because it’s not that hard. That is, this all happens because growth is over. And if growth is over, so are expansion and centralization in all the myriad of shapes and forms they come in.

Global is gone as a main driving force, pan-European is gone, and whether the United States will stay united is far from a done deal. We are moving towards a mass movement of dozens of separate countries and states and societies looking inward. All of which are in some form of -impending- trouble or another.[/quote]

Well, I think the claim that transporting the ND oil economically is sufficient to outweigh the potential damage really should be backed up with  more careful thought while the idea that pipelines are safe or even the safer alternative requires some data.
Here's a very extensive list of pipeline accidents in the US and there seem to be ~15-25 of them every year.

Here's a sample from just the year 2012 when there were 38 reported incidents.

  • A 30-inch gas pipeline exploded and burned, in Estill County, Kentucky, on the evening of January 2. The rupture created a crater approximately 86 feet long by 22 feet wide, and expelled a number of pieces of pipe as far as 800 feet from the rupture center. Flames were reported reaching over 1,000 feet high. Residents up to a mile away from the failure were evacuated. There were no injuries. The cause was overstress from land movement.[355][356]
  • A forest fire caused a gas pipeline to explode and burn in Floyd County, Kentucky on January 7. There were no injuries from this incident.[357]
  • On January 9, a man was killed, and another person injured, in a fiery house explosion from a leaking 4-inch cast iron gas main installed in 1950 in Austin, Texas. Gas had been smelled in the area for several weeks prior to this. Gas company crews had looked along the affected property for a leak, but were unable to find it.[288][358]
  • Sunoco pipeline ruptured and spilled about 117,000 gallons of gasoline, in Wellington, Ohio, late on January 12. Some residents were evacuated for a week.[359][360]
  • On January 13, an 8-inch gas pipeline exploded and burned, in a vacant agricultural field, in Rio Vista, California. There were no injuries or evacuations.[361]
  • Tennessee Gas Pipeline gas compressor had a major leak "that sounded like a rocket" in Powell County, Kentucky, forcing evacuations of nearby residents on January 14. There was no fire or injuries reported.[362]
  • A contractor excavating for a communications company caused a massive gas explosion and fire at a condominium complex on January 16 in West Haverstraw, New York, injuring two firefighters and two utility workers. Afterwards, it was found that the excavator's insurance will be insufficient to cover all of the property damage of the incident.[363]
  • On January 18, the original Colonial Pipeline mainline failed in Belton, South Carolina, spilling about 13,500 gallons of petroleum product. The failure was caused by internal corrosion.[364]
  • Workers in Topeka, Kansas were installing a yard sprinkler system on January 30, hit a gas line. Gas from the leak later on exploded in a nearby house, burning a 73-year-old woman, who died several weeks later.[365][366]
  • On January 31, a Shell Oil Company fuel pipeline to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mitchell International Airport was found to be leaking. Jet fuel had been smelled for about two weeks in the area, and was found in runoff water in the area. The cause was from external corrosion. About 9,000 gallons of fuel were spilled. In 2014, a Shell employee was scheduled to plead guilty to charges of falsifying records of the pipeline.[367][368]
  • A Florida Gas Transmission Company 30-inch gas transmission pipeline burst near Baton Rouge, Louisiana on February 13. Residents in the area were evacuated for a time, but there was no fire.[369][370]
  • On February 15, 2012, in Arenac County, Michigan, oil was discovered in the soil around a 30-inch Enbridge crude oil pipeline. About 800 gallons of crude oil was spilled.[371]
  • Two cars that were drag racing went off the road they were on, and crash through a fence and into a crude oil pipeline in New Lenox, Illinois on March 3. The pipeline was ruptured, and the crude oil ignited. Two men from the vehicles were killed, and three others seriously burned.[372][373]
  • On March 5, a leak at an Enid, Oklahoma pipeline storage facility spread propane fumes in the area, forcing evacuations. There was no fire or explosion.[374]
  • A crude oil pipeline leaked near Grand Isle, Louisiana on March 17, spilling as much as 8,400 gallons of crude oil. There were no injuries reported.[375]
  • On March 29, an employee accidentally left a valve open during maintenance work on a Williams Companies gas compressor station near Springville Township, Pennsylvania. Later, gas leaked through the valve, causing alarms to evacuate workers in the compressor building. Later, the gas exploded and burned. There were no injuries. It was also found there are no agencies enforcing rules on rural gas facilities in that state.[376][377]
  • On April 2, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company, reported a leak on their 72nd Street Interstate Transmission Lateral located in North Bergen, New Jersey. Workers discovered a rock in contact with the bottom of the pipe. Upon removing the rock, the pipeline began to leak. There was no fire or injuries reported as a result of this incident.[378]
  • A 12-inch gas pipeline exploded and burned for five hours near Gary, Texas on April 4. There were no injuries, but the rupture site was only 200 feet from that pipeline's compressor station.[379]
  • On April 6, two gas company workers were mildly burned when attempting to fix a leak on a 4-inch gas pipeline in DeSoto County, Mississippi. The pipeline exploded and burned during the repairs.[380]
  • A gas pipeline exploded and burned in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, on April 9. The accident was reported first by a satellite monitoring the area to the NRC. There were no injuries.[381]
  • Two men escaped with only minor burns after a bulldozer they were using hit a 24-inch gas pipeline near Hinton, Iowa on April 25. Authorities later announced the men did not call 811 for an underground utility locate.[382]
  • On April 28, an ExxonMobil 20/22-inch-diameter pipeline ruptured near Torbert in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, and crude oil spilled into the surrounding area, and flowed into an unnamed tributary connected to Bayou Cholpe. About 117,000 gallons of crude were spilled, with about 37,000 gallons being lost. The pipeline failed due to a manufacturing defect.[383][384][385]
  • A 26-inch gas transmission pipeline ruptured on June 6 in a compressor station near Laketon in northeastern Gray County, Texas. Gas escaped from the 50-foot-long rupture, igniting, leaving a crater 30 feet in diameter, burning two acres of agricultural area and telephone poles. There were no injuries.[386]
  • On June 8, near Canadian, Texas, a trackhoe operator suffered burns, after a fire from leaking 4-inch gas-gathering pipeline that was undergoing maintenance. Fumes entered the engine of the trackhoe and ignited.[387]
  • A contractor was killed and two others injured after an explosion at a BP gas compressor station in Durango, Colorado on June 25. BPHalliburton, and the other contractors were fined $7,000 each for safety violations in that work.[388][389]
  • A West Shore Pipe Line petroleum products pipeline burst near Jackson, Wisconsin on July 17, releasing about 54,000 gallons of gasoline. At least one family self evacuated due to the leak. At least 44 water wells nearby were contaminated from benzine in the gasoline, including a municipal well. A LF-ERW seam failure was suspected as the cause. Further testing revealed that at least 26 other areas on this pipeline needed repairs, with 22 within the Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area.[390][391][392][393]
  • A 14-inch gas gathering pipeline exploded and burned on July 18 near Intracoastal City, Louisiana. There were no injuries or major property damage reported.[394]
  • On July 23, a compressor station operated by Williams Companies in Windsor, New York was venting gas in a "routine procedure" — during a lightning storm — when the vent was ignited by lightning, causing a fireball "hundreds of feet into the air"[395][396]
  • An Enbridge crude oil pipeline ruptured in Grand Marsh, Wisconsin, releasing an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil. The pipeline had been installed in 1998. Flaws in the longitudinal welds had been seen during X-ray checks of girth welds.[163][397]
  • Four contract workers were injured during a flash fire at a Wyoming gas processing plant on August 22.[398]
  • A jet fuel pipeline near Chicago began leaking on August 27. The burst pipeline spilled an estimated 42,000 gallons of jet fuel into a ditch that empties into the Calumet Sag Channel in Palos Heights, Illinois. External corrosion was the cause of the pipeline failure.[399][400][401]
  • On August 28, a Atmos Energy repair crew struck an 8-inch gas main in McKinney, Texas, causing a fire. Four Atmos workers were treated for injuries. 1,000 Atmos gas customers lost gas service for a time.[402][403]
  • On September 6, a 10-inch gas gathering pipeline exploded and burned near Alice, Texas. Flames reached 100 feet high, and caused a 10-acre brush fire. There were no injuries.[404]
  • An explosion and fire hit a Crestwood Midstream Partners gas compressor station in Hood County, Texas on September 6. Heavy damage to a sheet metal building resulted, but, there were no injuries reported to crew there.[405]
  • A Colorado Interstate Gas gas compressor in Rio Blanco County, Colorado caught fire on September 11. There were no reported injuries.[406][407]
  • On September 24, an excavator struck a 4-inch natural gas line on Route 416 in Montgomery, New York. Escaping gas ignited, and it took 90 minutes before the gas was shut off. There were no injuries.[408]
  • The operator of an excavator machine narrowly escaped serious injury in Lewiston, Idaho on November 19, when his machine hit a gas pipeline during road work. The resulting fire destroyed a railroad signal, along with several telephone poles, and road construction equipment. The depth of the pipeline has been misjudged at that location.[409][410]
  • On November 20, about 38,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from an Enbridge pipeline at a tank farm in Mokena, Illinois.[411][412]
  • Two men were injured in an explosion and fire at a natural gas production facility east of Price, Utah on November 20.[413]
  • On November 23, a gas company worker looking for the source of a reported gas leak in a Springfield, Massachusetts strip club pierce a gas line. The gas later exploded, injuring 21, devastating the strip club, and damaging numerous nearby buildings.[414]
  • On November 30, a heavy equipment operator punctured a 12-inch gas transmission pipeline, near the city of Madera, California. The adjacent highway, along with several rural roads, was shut down for hours, while houses and businesses in the area were evacuated.[415]
  • A malfunction in a gas compressor caused a fire on December 4, north of Fort Worth, Texas. There were no injuries.[416]
  • On December 5, a 16-inch gas pipeline at 500 psi of pressure exploded and burned near a natural gas plant in Goldsmith, Texas. A fireball 250 feet high was created after the explosion, destroying 12 to 15 utility poles, and caliche and rocks the size of bowling balls damaged a road. There were no injuries reported.[417]
  • On December 11, at approximately 12:40pm, a 20-inch gas pipeline owned by NiSource Inc., parent of Columbia Gas, exploded along I-77 between Sissonville and Pocatalico, West Virginia. Several people suffered minor injuries, four houses were destroyed, and other buildings were damaged. Early reports announced the NTSB was investigating as to why alarms in the control room for this pipeline did not sound for this failure.[418][419][420][421]
  • On December 26, a 20-inch Florida Gas Transmission Company pipeline ruptured near Melbourne, Florida, ejecting a 20-foot section of the pipeline. There was no fire or injuries.[422]

And when pipelines spill in watersheds, they can make a big, big mess.

KALAMAZOO, MI -- The five-year anniversary of the Kalamazoo River oil spill is July 25, marking the official date that Enbridge Energy's 6B pipeline ruptured in the Talmadge Creek and sent 843,000 gallons of diluted bitumen, also known as crude tar sands oil -- into the tributary of the Kalamazoo River.

The oil would eventually travel about 39 miles down the Kalamazoo River before being contained in Morrow Dam in Kalamazoo County's Comstock Township. Subsequent cleanup efforts would be further complicated by the fact that some of the heavy crude oil sank to the river's bottom, meaning cleanup efforts required extensive dredging of the riverbed.

Enbridge, a Canadian-based oil giant, completed remedial efforts in fall 2014 that had been ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. In addition to removing the oil, the effort included rehabilitating damage caused to the ecosystem and wildlife affected by the spill.

So far, Enbridge has paid about $1.2 billion to clean up the tar sands oil, not including more than $80 million in state and federal fines to date. While cleanup of the river is complete, Enbridge is still required to monitor the river for additional unnatural sheen or oil particles through 2016 under the supervision of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


While DilBit (diluted bitumen) is a far worse substance than ND Bakken crude (much lighter, doesn't sink nearly as much I would hazard)) it really cannot be argued that anybody would want a pipeline breaking in their water supply.

And nobody can argue that they won't break.  Pipelines break all the time…it's what long, pressurized hoses eventually do, especially when run by money grubbing, maintenance stingy companies 

By my memory, there is a treaty between the Sioux and the United States government, to the effect that the Sioux lands will not be taken except for a road to Oregon, or for a military base. 
This qualifies as neither.

There is also an interpretation that "taking" can involve even limiting the best use of the land.  If the best use of the land is for drinking water, and the presence of the pipeline and the possibility of rupture impacts that use, then that is "taking".

Now, on the down side:  the US government AND the Canadian government, as well as many other governments, ignore their treaties when they want to.

Nonetheless, often times if the Sioux can force the other company to take them to court, they can then declare that the court is incompetent to hear the case, if it is not either Geneva or the US Supreme Court, both of which have standing to rule on treaties.  Although governments may wish to ignore their treaties, courts generally defer to the claim of incompetence, if there is reasonable cause to consider the claim.

So it is quite possible that they can win this.

And they should.


I was thinking the same thing.  How good an investment is the pipeline, given that fracking does not have the life span or produce the volume of oil that conventional oil fields do.

The investment should not only consider construction cost, but also removing the pipeline once it is no longer in use.  The potential cost of major spill cleanups should be built into the equation as well.

If a real estimate of the pipeline revenue stream can cover construction cost, potential environmental damage cleanup and pipe line removal plus returning the land to original condition while producing a reasonable profit, then perhaps it's a good investment.

I'm betting that the financial analysis fell far short of including all of the costs plus potential costs.  

For that matter, do US companies even bother to remove pipelines once they are no longer in use, or do they just plug them and walk away?

So, if it goes forward, some people make a lot of money, other people get cheaper gas, while a few people have to live with land that is permanently degraded?

It's the American way.

Only about one fourth of the incidents that you cited involved transmission of liquids. Leaks and explosions are much more probable with gas lines. I don't believe that it is appropriate to compare their risks with those of a large capacity, expensive and well constructed oil pipeline. Almost the entire U.S. production of natural gases is transported by about three million of miles of pipelines ranging from gathering and transmission lines to distribution lines. Only 38 serious incidents per year seems like an incredibly good safety record to me. Further, I worked on the construction of several hundred miles of two major petroleum liquids transmission lines that have each been in service for over fifty years without leaks. While nothing is completely risk free, I think that it would be easily possible to operate the Dakota Access Pipeline for a similar period with zero problems. In contrast, there have already been several incidents with loss of life due to rail transport of Bakken oil.


This is excellent news.So the kids have an intuition about the sacredness of their environment and can speak with authority conferred by their lineage. 
One should imagine then that I can speak with the authority conferred by mine? Possibly not, in some eyes.

I am an I haplogroup.  My ancestors were Cro-magnon. 

The I group were the original settlers of Europe, and arrived there (before the I-mutation took place) from the Middle East around 35,000 years ago. These are the descendants of the Cro-Magnons. I later mutated further into the I1 and I2 groups. 
Therefore I can claim to speak for Europe with more authority than the recently arrived R1 group.

However there is a wrinkle in the story. I'm not as impressive as my ancestors. 

For the purposes of this argument, what is important is that they had never known an agricultural way of life which was sedentary. Grazing was far more similar to the Palaeolithic hunter’s way of life than was Neolithic agriculture. And it is this way of life in particular that has enabled them to preserve the Palaeolithic intelligence and that has allowed them to conquer the world.

W.H. Calvin has an explanation of why this is so. (Google fail. Thanks DuckDuckgo). In easy times we breed young and fast. We are in easy times . This creates a Neotenic population, a population that breeds before maturity.

Prognosis. In hard times we do grow up. Pair bonding is for life. Offspring require a greater percentage of scarce resources.

Note: That brain/bodyweight ratio thing is based on an egotistical homocentric desire to explain our "obvious" superiority and dashed good looks. It has no substance. The brain does not cool the blood, it thinks and it is as small as it can be and still deliver the goods; babies.

I guess it all depends on where you happen to live:

Resource development takes from all for the benefit of the select. Return on investment means different things to deferent people.

But then I realize who it is that's telling me this.
BTW Herr Robley, the white supremacist propaganda poster is hilarious. 

If Homo Superior is superior as such, then why is he extinct?

Not seeing it:

Happy shared birthday, Chris!

Time2Help posted this over in the DD, so I'm moving it here: