In 2016, we gathered at rivers, on farms, and in court. We organized and rallied. We risked and took arrest. We joined in solidarity at our allies’ camps at Standing Rock and Mississippi Stand. We did the hard work of collaboration. We showed up. We spoke up. We took action. And together we will continue our work in 2017!
Kathy Holdefer, from Mingo, Iowa, shared what this work has meant for her: “As a member of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, I’ve been privileged to know dozens of others who, like me, are first-time activists and arrestees. We didn’t seek out something to “protest.” But when this pipeline came in – we had to stand up. And we’ll stand strong until we defeat it – thoughtfully, peacefully, and proudly.”
As we stood along the Des Moines River this summer, Mark Edwards of Boone asked us: “We have a duty, a right to protect the public trust we share in common – the climate, the air, the land, this river. People have been living here for thousands of years without the threat of losing their water. One spill for one hour could dump one million gallons of oil into this river. Are we really willing to risk this? Are we really willing to allow it?”
Peter Clay, from Des Moines, wrote about his experiences visiting Standing Rock and the truth that we are stronger together. Water connects us all. Over and over again throughout the year, we stood together. Last June, on the Lambs’ family farm in Boone County, Donnielle Wanatee of Tama and the Meskwaki nation called upon the US Army Corps to do their job: “The Lambs of Boone, Iowa are fighting this pipeline alongside other Iowans and we Meskwakis join this battle with them. It is up to the Army Corps of Engineers to deny this permit and fight for our great-grandchildrens’ right to safe, clean water in Iowa and we ask them to follow federal laws.”
This fall we delivered over 33K petitions to the U.S. Army Corps office demanding they deny the pipeline’s permit. Many of you have participated in mail blitzes targeting the US Army Corps, President Obama, and Dakota Access’ funders. Our Dakota Access Pipeline Watchdogs have documented the egregious disrespect of our Earth and violations of the law as construction crews worked in Iowa.
Earlier this month, members of our Coalition delivered a powerful letter to the Iowa Utilities Board that clearly stated our opposition: “This is a failed project. The Iowa Utilities Board must now do the responsible thing and stand with Iowans. We are calling on you to revoke the permit and require Dakota Access to stop any and all remaining construction in Iowa. In addition, Dakota Access should be made to pay reparations to land owners and Iowans to cover the cost of damage that they caused.”
Our work to pressure the Iowa Utilities Board to revoke the permit continues. On December 15th, Iowa Sierra Club and eight landowner plaintiffs represented the interests of all Iowans in a precedent setting case. Together, they argued why eminent domain should never have been granted to out-of-state oil company Dakota Access.
“I want to fiercely advocate for and protect the rivers. […] A catastrophic spill is more than possible, it is probable. That is an unacceptable risk to our environment, our drinking water and to the future of our children, grandchildren and all generations to come.” These words from Kathy Cullin Meyer, a water protector from Iowa City, continue to inspire us to stand strong for Iowa in 2017 as we work together to stop Dakota Access’ Bakken Pipeline for good.
Seventh-generation landowner Sylvia Spalding Rodgers hosted a flotilla and reading from Fracture in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where we witnessed—from the perspective of the South Skunk River—what is at stake for us all. We will close with her wise words: “Our family may not be indigenous, our history with the land and the water of Iowa may not be from time immemorial, but we are connected to the land, to the river and to the first stewards of the land. As the summer of resistance comes to an end and we look to a potentially longer battle through the autumn and into the winter, we stand with Standing Rock and the Oceti Sakowin (People of the Seven Council Fires, or the Sioux) and thank them for their ability to bring world attention to the threat of DAPL.”
As we renew our commitment in 2017 to stop the pipeline, we thank each of you for your support these past two and a half years! Together, we will keep the pressure on the state of Iowa to revoke the permit, continue to work in solidarity with water protectors along the pipeline route, and keep divesting from the banks funding Dakota Access.
The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition Family