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SLC Demonstration Shows Solidarity With Protests Over Dakota Access Pipeline

Justin Prather

The protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe reached national headlines last week. The pipe line currently under construction will cross the Missouri river, not far upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, and the tribe claims that it was not properly consulted as required by law before construction began. 

On Friday district judge James Boasberg denied an injunction that would have halted construction on the pipe line. In response, the USACE, the DOJ, and DOI announced   that they were stopping construction and suggested that private company Energy Transfer LLC. voluntarily follow suit. The government agencies involved want to determine if the any laws are being violated, specifically the National Environmental Policy Act.

In Salt Lake City, protestors gathered to discuss the recent victory and what the next steps should be.

“Now this is a victory that we ought to celebrate, because this didn’t happen – no offense to my lawyers and legal friends – this didn’t happen because what was happening in those court rooms. This happened because people like you went directly to those front lines, those political lines, and showed them what was happening. Political direct action works. This is why we are here.”  

Credit Justin Prather

That was Moroni Benally, a member of the Navajo Nation and expert in policy making in native communities. State Rep. Angela Romero also spoke promoting solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. She also called on groups that feel marginalized to take action by raising awareness and voting in elections.

“If we want to stop stuff like this from happening and we want to save our water, we want to save our Earth, my call to all of you is to do something about it. And if you can vote, vote. We’re not just talking about water, we’re talking about communities of color who have been colonized for years and years and years and generations, and until we, as people of color, as people who support disenfranchised communities, stand up and take our rights back, they’re going to keep on giving them away”