Jan 25, 2017 by


A dispatch from the DAPL protests in New York City.


Dakota Access Pipeline Protester, Lafayette Square
Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering/Flickr CC

Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker of Gasland, including the latest film in the series, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, weighed in today about the news that President Trump is issuing an executive order overturning the Obama administration’s decisions and advancing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline. Fox will participate in a demonstration at Columbus Circle in Manhattan tonight starting at 6pm to protest the order.

“Trump is ignoring the millions of people who vehemently oppose these projects and he does so at peril of his own legitimacy,” said Fox. “Trump’s decree offends the rule of law. It violates tribal sovereignty, and upends the environmental review process. It flies in the face of our democratic process and contradicts the will of the American people, 80% of whom want renewable energy and 100% of whom want clean water. And it contradicts clear rulings from federal court upholding new environmental review for DAPL.”

“The water protectors and the pipeline protestors aren’t going to just accept Trump’s tyrannical order. We’re non-violent, we’re strong and we will fight it effectively,” said Fox, who spent several weeks at Standing Rock filming the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters. “We’re a national movement now that Trump can’t stop with executive orders or militarized police crackdowns. This is the kind of hijacking of the public interest we can expect from Trump, but it won’t stand.”

In late 2016, thousands of protesters at Standing Rock succeeded in preventing the final leg of the Dakota Access Pipeline from crossing Standing Rock Sioux lands in North Dakota and threatening the water supply by tunneling under Lake Oahe. After the Obama administration decided in December to block DAPL construction on the disputed land and restart environmental review, the protesters celebrated a victory, though they remained vigilant.

Trump’s executive order is expected to rescind the new Environmental Impact Statement process that would study new routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline. That process was upheld in Federal District Court last week after a challenge from DAPL lawyers. Donald Trump has been a stockholder in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, predicted a Trump executive order overturning DAPL may not stand up in court, noting that President George W. Bush’s attempts to roll back Clinton-era environmental policy measures were repeatedly challenged in federal court.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Standing Rock, protests against pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure have sprung up nationwide, including the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana, the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in West Texas, the Diamond Pipeline in Memphis, and the Sabal Trail Pipeline in Florida, to name a few.

Stephen Kent is the president of KentCom LLC, a public interest and public policy PR practice.

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