Impacted Communities Take Fight Against Dakota Access to Corporate Heads

By Nika Knight, staff writer Common Dreams

Protesters from oil-impacted communities around the country are descending on Houston, Texas, for prayer action at Dakota Access Pipeline company offices

Activists from oil-impacted communities around the country are descending on Energy Transfer Partners' corporate offices in Houston, Texas, to protest the company's Dakota Access Pipeline and other controversial pipeline projects.

Despite ongoing, growing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the federal government's repeated requests that Energy Transfer Partners halt its construction, the company has reiterated its intention to continue building the pipeline, undaunted.

Wednesday's action is a part of nationwide protests against the corporate powers behind Dakota Access. The demonstration will see members from communities affected by the fossil fuel industry from Richmond, Calif., Chicago, Ill., the Gulf Coast, and others joining local Texas organizers to voice their collective opposition to Energy Transfer Partners' pipeline projects, and to push for a just transition to renewable energy.

"Energy Transfer Partners has drawn national attention for driving both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the equally controversial Trans Pecos Pipeline, that has also violated the rights of Indigenous peoples in West Texas, and poses significant threat to the water and land for many communities in Texas," Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, an organizer of the demonstration, noted in a press statement.

The protesters will gather for a prayer action that is set to begin at 1:30pm Central Time.

"From Chicago to Houston we stand with all of our communities impacted by the oil and gas industry in fighting back. It took us twelve years to shut down the two coal plant[s] in Chicago and we commit to fighting until our communities have justice," said Kim Wasserman of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in Chicago. "While these companies think they have only money and stocks to lose we have to remind them it's our lives and world at stake."

"We stand in deep solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters banded together to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline," added Radical Arts and Healing Collective member Jayeesha Dutta, from New Orleans. "Our fights are quite literally one: the Gulf South is where that Bakken crude oil will eventually end up for refining and transportation."

"We are already on the frontline of environmental disasters, like the BP oil catastrophe, which we are still recovering from," Dutta said. "It is time to put an end to extractive energy production, and the exploitation of our land and labor that comes along with that."

"Clean water is a basic human right that should be afforded to everyone. No treaty, law or structure should have to reinforce a necessity, yet we understand that we live in a world driven by corporate greed that sacrifices sacred lands, vulnerable populations and people of color," said Yvette Arellano of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS). "I am humbled by the solidarity and courage grassroots, big greens and supporting organizations from all over the country are demonstrating to face Energy Transfer Partners at their doorstep in the house of the largest petrochemical complex of the nation."

"Together we press forward, rise, and demand a clean world for future generations in our struggle to survive," Arellano said.

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