North Dakota

Rick Perry, Climate Denier and Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Board Member, Named Energy Secretary

Rick Perry

Former Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, a boardmember of Energy Transfer Partners — owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) — has been named U.S. Secretary of Energy by President-elect Donald Trump.

Perry, the former chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), ran for president as part of the Republican Party primaries in 2015, but his campaign ended quickly. He announced his run for the Oval Office in 2015 while facing felony charges for official state corruption in Texas.

Army Corps Commander Ordering Evacuation of Standing Rock Protesters Has Conflicting Heroes in Ayn Rand, Martin Luther King

Left, Ayn Rand. Right, Martin Luther King, Jr. mug shot

By Branko Marcetic

Colonel John W. Henderson has some peculiar heroes.

Little is known about the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Omaha District, whose name has been in the news following his original Friday decision to evict Standing Rock protesters from the Oceti Sakowin camp set up on the Corps’ property north of the Cannonball River. On Sunday, he appeared to reverse any plans for the forced removal of protesters, but reinforced that the camp would still be closed.

Yet in an interview conducted last year, Henderson revealed an incongruous pair of personal idols: radical pro-free market author Ayn Rand and civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Lobbyist for Dakota Access Formerly Led Army's "Restore Iraqi Oil" Program

Screen shot of Robert Crear.

Robert Crear, one of the lobbyists working for Dakota Access pipeline co-owners Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, formerly served as a chief of staff and commanding general for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Army Corps and other federal agencies are currently reviewing the permit granted for the controversial pipeline's construction near the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota, and the Army Corps has reserved final authorization to complete construction on Corps land until after formal government-to-government consultations with the tribes are completed later this month.

Before he became a lobbyist, Crear headed up the Army Corps project, “Task Force: Restore Iraqi Oil” during the early years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq under the George W. Bush administration. This finding by DeSmog comes as the law enforcement presence has become increasingly militarized and additional forces pour into North Dakota from states nationwide under the auspices of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)

Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan

TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.

According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”

The Morton County, North Dakota, Sheriff's Department also recently concluded that another security company, Frost Kennels, operated in the state while unlicensed to do so and could face criminal charges. The firm's attack dogs bit protesters at a heated Labor Day weekend protest.

This Natural Disaster Assistance Law Is Why Other States Are Policing Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

Almost exactly 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed into law a bill creating an interstate agreement for emergency management. That inconspicuous law has opened the door for the current flood of out-of-state law enforcement agents present at the continuing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) authorized states to enter into agreements with other states in order to share emergency management–related personnel during crisis situations. One of the only other times this compact was deployed outside of a natural disaster was for the Black Lives Matter protests in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

DeSmog reviews the use of this controversial authorization below. News is just breaking now that police are removing protesters at the site right now.

Exclusive: Q&A with Filmmaker Deia Schlosberg on Her Arrest While Filming an Activist Shutting Down a Tar Sands Pipeline

Deia Schlosberg. Climate Direct Action activists.

On October 11, 2016, award-winning documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg was arrested in North Dakota while filming an activist with Climate Direct Action as he turned off a TransCanada oil sands pipeline crossing from Canada into the United States. It was one of five actions that shut down all pipelines carrying tar sands into the U.S. from Canada that day.

In an exclusive interview with DeSmog, Schlosberg shares her experience, including what it’s like being a reporter facing felony charges with a potential maximum sentence of 45 years, her reaction when Edward Snowden tweeted about her, and a message for other journalists covering climate change and the oil and gas industry. 

I did not ever intend to be the story. It’s safe on this side of the camera usually,” Schlosberg told DeSmog. 

Security Firm Guarding Dakota Access Pipeline Also Used Psychological Warfare Tactics for BP

Standing Rock Security

G4S, a company hiring security staff to guard the hotly contested Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), also works to guard oil and gas industry assets in war-torn Iraq, and has come under fire by the United Nations for human rights abuses allegedly committed while overseeing a BP pipeline in Colombia and elsewhere while on other assignments.

Recently, the UK-based G4S placed job advertisements on its website, announcing it would be hiring security teams to work out of offices in Mandan and Bismarck, North Dakota. These two locales are only a 45-minute drive away from the ongoing Standing Rock Sioux Tribe-led encampment unfolding along DAPL's route in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. First among the list of required experience for both locations is service related to military police, elite military forces, or “any support role in a combat zone.” 

Mixed Reactions as Feds Give Standing Rock Sioux Partial Victory

By Larry Buhl and Steve Horn

Friday afternoon brought a roller coaster of emotions for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters in the battle to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) near the tribe’s North Dakota reservation. Shortly after a court rejected the tribe’s emergency legal challenge, a joint statement by three federal agencies effectively stopped work on the pipeline until significant questions are answered about potential environmental and cultural impacts.

In August the tribe filed suit to challenge the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant permits to DAPL at more than 200 water crossings for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline project. The Sioux argued that the project violates several federal environmental laws and would threaten water supplies for millions of people who rely on the Missouri River for drinking water.

Destruction of Sacred Burial Grounds Prompts Federal Judge to Protect Some Tribal Sites from Dakota Access Pipeline

Tribe members and their supporters march with signs protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. halted construction on a portion of the contentious Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline route, which falls on federal land. However, because the court lacked jurisdiction, he ruled that construction could continue on the area* that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had recently identified as sacred tribal burial ground, a site that was bulldozed over the Labor Day weekend by pipeline construction crews.

Discovered only recently, the ancient site's location was filed just one day* before its destruction and was awaiting review by the state historic preservation office.

At the judge’s request, Dakota Access LLC agreed to halt construction on only a small area in contention until the judge issues a separate ruling this week on a preliminary injunction motion brought by the tribe over the pipeline.

Senator Promoting Dakota Access Pipeline Invests In Bakken Oil Wells Named After Indian Tribe

U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) recently came out in support of the Dakota Access pipeline, the hotly contested Energy Transfer Partners-owned pipeline envisioned to move oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin. As the pipeline transports oil across North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, it will cross farms, natural areas, and perhaps most notably, ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is one of several tribes disagreeing with Sen. Hoeven's assessment that this pipeline is “infrastructure we need.” 

What Sen. Hoeven — an outspoken supporter of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — did not mention, however, is his personal investment in 68 different oil-producing wells in North Dakota under the auspices of the company Mainstream Investors, LLC according to his most recent congressional personal financial disclosure form

Seventeen of those wells are owned by Continental Resources, the company whose CEO Harold Hamm also serves as a campaign energy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Those wells have a value of between $11,000–$171,000, and 14 of them, named Wahpeton, are located within 18 miles of the Dakota Access Watford City terminal site

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