As the battle rages between Native Americans attempting to protect their natural resources and Big Oil profiteers seeking to plow through with the North Dakota Access pipeline, political figures remain silent.
Obama, Hillary, and Trump have not said a word about the pillaging of land and water, or the fact that attack dogs have been unleashed on protesters just as they were during 1960s civil rights demonstrations.
While we can chalk up Obama’s and Hillary’s silence to establishment loyalty, Trump has a deeper interest in the 30-inch diameter pipeline connecting the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields to Patoka, Illinois.
Donald Trump’s energy adviser, Harold Hamm – who could very well be Trump’s pick for Energy Secretary – has big plans to move oil through the North Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).
Hamm is the founder and CEO of Continental Resources, which is heavily involved in the fracking boom going on in the Bakken Shale basin.
As Steve Horn at DeSmog describes, Hamm turned his sights on DAPL as he realized the Keystone XL pipeline was not going to become a reality. Hamm’s lobbying group, called Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, now has their full attention on DAPL – and there’s no telling what hand they’ve had in suppressing Native American rights and railroading landowner opposition.
To secure their pipeline route, state and local governments granted eminent domain to Dakota Access for massive areas of land. Iowa farmers who did not want an oil pipeline with 50-foot easements running through their agricultural land had no choice as regulators, salivating at the millions in tax revenue, rubber-stamped the property seizures.
The pipeline company and its subcontractors intimidated reluctant landowners by stacking pipe next to their property, acting as if construction were a foregone conclusion.
Back in the Dakotas, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attempted to get a federal court to stop construction crews from bulldozing through their ancient burial grounds. While waiting on government for help that will probably not come, the tribe rushed to defend their sacred ground.
That’s when Dakota Access hired private mercenaries to unleash attack dogs and pepper spray the crowd, with several protesters being bitten and at least 30 people sprayed – all while state troopers watched.
The Standing Rock tribe is awaiting a decision from a federal judge in their lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for granting fast-track authorization of DAPL, bypassing more stringent environmental and cultural review requirements.
However, the revolving door of the Corps and corporate actors means there is little hope of a positive outcome for the tribe. Not only has the pipeline already ruined sacred burial sites, but it is set to threaten the water source of Standing Rock and millions of others by being bored underneath the Missouri River.
While Trump hasn’t said anything publicly about DAPL, it’s a sure bet that he is all for the pipeline and is using his connections to grease the skids. Trump wants to “make American great again” but is unabashedly supportive of State theft of private property through eminent domain for corporate interests.
Trump’s energy adviser, Harold Hamm, is surely devoting his resources to clear the way for pipeline completion so his oil company can rake in the profits on the backs of coerced landowners and Native Americans. Hamm’s lobbying group has likely spent long hours buttering up government regulators, whispering in their ear about the millions in tax revenue the State will be receiving.
Trump has proclaimed his intention to keep America chained to the toxic dinosaur of fossil fuels, promising to ramp up coal production and shun renewable energies. Longtime friend Harold Hamm – a 70-year-old Oklahoma oilman who knows nothing but the business of exploiting fossil fuels regardless of the cost to property rights and environmental health – would be a perfect fit for Trump’s energy Secretary.