Pipeline protesters show solidarity with Native Americans in North Dakota
Protesters staged demonstrations across the country Tuesday in solidarity with Native Americans trying to stop an oil pipeline from being built on their land in North Dakota. The anti-pipeline demonstrations took place in Lebanon and Lancaster counties, as well as in Philadelphia, where President Obama made a visit to stump for his former rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The president spoke to about 6,000 people gathered in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum while about 100 protesters stood behind barricades across the street, and periodically chanted “water is life.”
Catherine Blunt from West Philadelphia said she wanted to show support for the Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The pipeline is an intrusion on the Native American people’s right to their ancestral homeland,” she said, “their holy land, you know, that should not be going on.”
The pipeline, built by the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, would cross the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s sacred land and burial places, as well as more than 200 water ways on its path through four states. The tribe has also expressed concerns that a pipeline could rupture, and put their water supply at risk.
The Dakota Access pipeline would bring oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale fields east to Illinois. President Obama halted the construction last week while federal agencies reconsider water crossing permits issued for the project.
Kitty Heite of Philadelphia says Obama needs to do more to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“I hope that he hears that there are people not just in North Dakota but all over the country who think that this pipeline is not the answer to our energy needs,” Heite said. “It’s not the answer to the jobs crisis and it’s not the answer to our environmental crisis.”
The $3.8 billion dollar pipeline project would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
About 60 people turned out to events in Lancaster and Lebanon counties, where there is also significant local opposition to the Mariner East and the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline projects.
“This gives us a feeling of community and solidarity,” said Michael Schroeder, of Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, “As we continue this uphill struggle against the behemoth oil and gas industry.”