Sunday, December 04, 2016

What Loomis said on Standing Rock and direct action

Go read. I tend to fall too much into the camp of people he's complaining about, and he's got a point.

Even more worthwhile, the statement from Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman:

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.

We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.

Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.

We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.

Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples. To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect. Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.

UPDATE:  after reading the comments at Loomis' post, I'll agree that direct action blocking highways and transit is only a way to be counterproductive. Civil disobedience needs to be closely connected to the immoral act that is being protested.

17 comments:

Fergus Brown said...

Public protest is an essential part of democracy. It's a visible way of showing the management that you are unhappy and think something bad is going on. It's a good way to gain public awareness of your problem, since without it many injustices go unnoticed because there's no media-friendly melodrama in place.
Finally, it is a genuine weapon for change. Which is why politicians hate it so much.
In the real world, it becomes civil disobedience when someone in law enforcement decides so. I've marched along a street in protest alongside a cop who politely reminded me a couple of times that I was pushing the bounds of acceptability, so I backed off a bit and we both got what we wanted.
Then there's the PiTA Anarchists, who use any public demonstration as an excuse to cause trouble, who have nothing to do with the injustices and skew the picture.
Sometimes, something is so wrong that only loud and public protest can address it, at least for a start, after which, order can be restored and some adjustments made in a rational way; but without the shout, the pushy types just do what they please.

Jan Galkowski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
667-per-cm.net said...

Even if an extended civil disobedience action fails, it can be highly useful. Locally, a natural gas pipeline spur known as the West Roxbury lateral (``WRL''), has been the focus of peaceful protests for over a year, with over 200 people arrested, including my lovely wife, Claire. I served as ``support'' for three people trying to shut down construction by entering the work zones, and received training along with them to facilitate that.

In the end, the WRL was completed, and it was just pressurized last week. However, the attempt on the part of Spectra-Algonquin, the pipeline company, to replicate the quiet invasion they began to achieve with WRL has failed, and the WRL activism has awakened and alerted towns throughout Massachusetts where another, much larger project, Access Northeast proposed by the same company, has received both public and official condemnation and opposition, for reasons which are similar to those in North Dakota: Lives, water, and local sovereignty.

Possibly the most significant element of this collective opposition was seen in the legislative groundswell to prohibit natural gas ratepayers from having their bills docked to pay for these pipes, an effort that failed due to machinations by Massachusetts House leadership, but later won because the Massachusetts courts declared such a ratepayer fee to be illegal, and the pipeline had no customers.

The week after week protests at WRL energized opposition and were placed alongside similar protests and actions in New York State and elsewhere. The effect was sufficient to have companies and natural gas trade journals lament that it was nearly impossible to expand their natural gas networks (see also). Bill Yardley, former president of transmission at Spectra, described how hard it was to build transmission.

So, indeed, civil disobedience and opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure can indeed work. But it has its limits. The leadership of these actions are apparently reluctant to, say, push boycotts of natural gas despite their opposition to pipelines. They are wiser political operatives than I am, but it seems a boycott is a logical next step. They are not sure that would play well with the public, or have much success.

Still, Massachusetts is moving, and opposition to pipelines was part of the witness to the depth of public concern.

Fernando Leanme said...

667 per cm, i guess the best approach may be to drill under to avoid bothering greenies. The other option is to build a combined cycle turbine power plant and feed electricity (this may be less energy efficient). The other option is to let you folk freeze to death or burn bunker fuel. What other options have you considered?

667-per-cm.net said...

+Fernando Lanme You can see yourself what we do.

Jan Galkowski said...

(Alright, let's try this again.)

Even if an extended civil disobedience action fails, it can be highly useful. Locally, a natural gas pipeline spur known as the _West Roxbury lateral_ (``WRL''), has been the focus of peaceful protests for over a year, with over 200 people arrested, including my lovely wife, Claire. I served as ``support'' for three people trying to shut down construction by entering the work zones, and received training along with them to facilitate that.

In the end, the WRL was completed, and it was just pressurized last week. However, the attempt on the part of Spectra-Algonquin, the pipeline company, to replicate the quiet invasion they began to achieve with WRL has failed, and the WRL activism has awakened and alerted towns throughout Massachusetts where another, much larger project, Access Northeast proposed by the same company, has received both public and official condemnation and opposition, for reasons which are similar to those in North Dakota: Lives, water, and local sovereignty.

Possibly the most significant element of this collective opposition was seen in the legislative groundswell to prohibit natural gas ratepayers from having their bills docked to pay for these pipes, an effort that failed due to machinations by Massachusetts House leadership, but later won because the Massachusetts courts declared such a ratepayer fee to be illegal, and the pipeline had no customers.

The week after week protests at WRL energized opposition and were placed alongside similar protests and actions in New York State and elsewhere. The effect was sufficient to have companies and natural gas trade journals lament that it was nearly impossible to expand their natural gas networks (see also). Bill Yardley, former president of transmission at Spectra, described how hard it was to build transmission.

So, indeed, civil disobedience and opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure can indeed work. But it has its limits. The leadership of these actions are apparently reluctant to, say, push boycotts of natural gas despite their opposition to pipelines. They are wiser political operatives than I am, but it seems a boycott is a logical next step. They are not sure that would play well with the public, or have much success.

Still, Massachusetts is moving, and opposition to pipelines was part of the witness to the depth of public concern.

Fernando Leanme said...

I don't see how you can dig yourselves out of the energy hole you are digging for yourselves. Maybe Massachussets is a very rich state and you can afford irrational policies, for a while.

Evidently solar power doesn't cut it in that environment (for example, I checked the accuweather forecast, starting on Subday and through Tuesday its going to be cloudy, it will snow, daylight hours are short, and it's very cold, which means the state would never survive using renewables unless it spends a gigantic amount on overbuilding infrastructure and on energy storage, and that isn't going to allow the economy to function).

The reasonable long term option I see is building nuclear power plants, if there is so much resistance to using natural gas. Or the citizenry can live like the Amish, live from tourism by rich Chinese and Brazilians.

Howard said...

Fuel oil heat from Venezuela is more better for the commonwealth of Massachusetts than natural gas from the US because ff energy production should be limited to where peoples of color live under autocratic kleptocracies lacking basic environmental and worker safety measures. As you know, environmentally sensitive property is where rich whites live, work and play. Also, to your typical environmentalist fuel oil burns much cleaner than natural gas.

Bernard J. said...

I see that Fernando Leanme's denialist scotoma demon is still doing a sterling job selecting facts for his world view...

Tell us FL, for how long do you think that countries will remain "rich" that refuse to participate in ceasing fossil carbon emissions?

Yes, we have a choice in how we respond to the global warming problem that we've created. No, we don't have a choice in the nature of the manifestation of the laws of physics that dictate the unfolding of global warming in the first place.

BBD said...

FL

Evidently solar power doesn't cut it in that environment

And of course the wind never blows in Massachusetts. So much for your false framing of 'renewables = solar'.

Of course the transition away from FFs will be hugely challenging and expensive and drawn out. I have argued with people who seem to think it's some kind of a done-deal in comments here at RR. But the FFs have to go and that has to be faced up to now which means throwing up more FF infrastructure is fundamentally stupid.

Howard said...

BBD: I agree, but we need a replacement before we can make the leap. We should listen to James Hansen that the only *real* solution is nuclear power.

BBD said...

Howard

We should listen to James Hansen that the only *real* solution is nuclear power.

We should indeed listen to Hansen, who actually said (my emphasis):

Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them. We are hopeful in the knowledge that, together with renewables, nuclear can help bridge the ‘emissions gap’ that bedevils the Paris climate negotiations. The future of our planet and our descendants depends on basing decisions on facts, and letting go of long-held biases when it comes to nuclear power.

Let's not put words into Hansen's mouth.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I just love it when the science illiterate refer to themselves as 'we' and somehow think they are the designated spokesperson for US. Thanks Howard! Fukashima worked out real well for the Japanese, three reactors burned straight through to the ocean and still smoking hot. How much money did the Japanese just award Tepco for the ongoing disaster again?

Howard said...

8c: Great argument. Lets scuttle an entire industry because the Japanese put a nuke plant in the path of a tsunami. You sound like an Alex Jones acolyte.

Howard said...

BBD: Thanks for providing a quote that makes my point. The "together with renewables" is a complimentary afterthought. Hansen says that nuclear is the required backbone.

BBD said...

BBD: Thanks for providing a quote that makes my point. The "together with renewables" is a complimentary afterthought. Hansen says that nuclear is the required backbone.

Pulled up once for misrepresenting Hansen and you do it *again*. This is what Hansen actually wrote (emphasis mine):

The climate issue is too important for us to delude ourselves with wishful thinking. Throwing tools such as nuclear out of the box constrains humanity’s options and makes climate mitigation more likely to fail. We urge an all-of-the-above approach that includes increased investment in renewables combined with an accelerated deployment of new nuclear reactors.

Stop lying, Howard. I won't ask politely a third time.

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