Construction on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has resumed. That’s despite the work of thousands of protesters who gathered throughout the country decrying the potential negative effects of the pipeline on the environment, as well as on Native American land and water. The protests had been going on for months, until they were finally able to convince the Obama Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to put the pipeline construction on hold while an environmental impact study was completed.
Since President Trump came into office, things have changed dramatically. He told the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the environmental impact study, and this week, the Corps did so and gave permission for construction to once again resume. The company responsible for the project, Energy Transfer Partners, expects the pipeline to be operational by June. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has said that it will continue to fight the pipeline in court.
So what does this mean for Austin?
Right here in Austin, several local groups are organizing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and continuing to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline on several fronts.
Here’s what they’re working on right now:
1. Divestment – Together the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Team (ATXEJ) and the Texas Water Protectors are calling on Austinites to close their accounts with Chase and other banks that are helping to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline. They’re asking anyone who is interested in closing their account to fill out this form and attend a protest at Chase Bank in downtown Austin on Monday, February 13th. More info>>
The protest will also call on the City of Austin to follow in the footsteps of Seattle and divest from banks that support “socially and environmentally destructive projects.” Earlier this week the Seattle City Council voted to remove its more than $3 billion in annual cash flow from Wells Fargo, citing in part, the bank’s connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
2. Fight back against Kelcy Warren’s appointment to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission – Kelcy Warren is the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the very company that is building the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as the controversial Trans-Pecos pipeline, which is set to be built in the Big Bend region. Warren has been nominated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to serve on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, which is essentially an advisory board for our state park system. The Sierra Club is calling on Texans to contact their state senators and oppose Warren’s appointment. More info>>