Bears Ears: Leave it as it is

It was the first national monument to grow out of the thinking, study, support, and political power of Native American nations.

[On May 6, 1903, not a hundred feet from where I was standing at the canyon’s edge, Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech that environmentalists—a word yet to be invented—would come to deem as important as Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat” or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It was a perfect match of subject and stage. In the open air on the canyon’s ledge, the president declaimed on the miracle of nature he was trying to save. The five words the speech is most remembered for would become synonymous with the Grand Canyon, and become a touchstone for protecting other wild landscapes.

“Leave it as it is,” Roosevelt told the crowd. “You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, should see….”]

REGINA LOPEZ-WHITESKUNK WAS A COUNCILWOMAN OF THE UTE MOUNTAIN UTE DURING THE CAMPAIGN TO ESTABLISH BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT. “WE KNEW WE WERE SPEAKING FOR NATIVE AMERICANS, BUT WHAT WE DIDN’T ANTICIPATE WAS BECOMING LEADERS FOR THE PEOPLE OF UTAH BEYOND THE TRIBES.” | PHOTO BY JUSTIN CLIFTON

Land Grab: Trump’s Campaign Against Bears Ears National Monument | Sierra

Deconstructing the National Environmental Policy Act

[On January 1, 1970, Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act which compels land managers to be accountable, transparent (not making deals in backrooms), to let sound science be a guide, to acknowledge in a forthright way what they don’t know, and to not do things by the seat of their pants or at the whim of political pressure or intimidation.
Even on a U.S. Department of Energy website, one that hasn’t yet been scrubbed by the Trump Administration, NEPA is referenced as “the Magna Carta” of environmental laws, the one that laid down the foundation, in fact, for all modern environmental laws in the land; laws that have safeguarded the health of millions of people, brought species back from the brink, ensured that water flowing from the tap is safe to drink and air good to breathe….
Today, there are several efforts underway in Congress to weaken or gut key provisions of NEPA, part of a larger fusillade of more than 150 overt and more insidious attempts to weaken the law….

NEPA has a special connection to the EPA, for the law gives the agency heft in enforcing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts and in recent years it has employed NEPA to consider the consequences of fossil fuel companies, automobiles and coal-fired energy plants sending carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to human-caused climate change.
One of the first things President Trump did was sign an executive order cancelling an executive order implemented by his predecessor which had instructed federal resource agencies to study climate change, consider climate change in management decisions, make plans for adaptation, and generally coordinate across the boundaries of bureaucratic fiefdoms.
On January 28, 2018, the House Natural Resources Committee chaired by Rob Bishop of Utah, issued a press release praising legislation that would rapidly ramp up oil and gas drilling on public lands and coastal areas. Notably, earlier in January after Trump announced a sweeping change that would clear the way for more offshore drilling by rescinding Obama-era regulations, he backtracked in deciding to exclude Florida where he has a home in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and where Republicans protested….] Read the full article here | MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Fracking in Wyoming | Photo by EcoFlight, courtesy of SkyTruth

Desert Solitaire

[“Wilderness preservation, like a hundred other good causes, will be forgotten under the overwhelming pressure of a struggle for mere survival and sanity in a completely urbanized, completely industrialized, even more crowded environment,” Abbey warned. “For my own part I would rather take my chances in a thermonuclear war than live in such a world….

The arches themselves, strange, impressive, grotesque, form but a small and inessential part of the general beauty of this country. When we think of rock we usually think of stones, broken rock, buried under soil and plant life, but here all is exposed and naked, dominated by the monolithic formations of sandstone which stand above the surface of the ground and extend for miles, sometimes level, sometimes tilted or warped by pressures from below, carved by erosion and weathering into an intricate maze of glens, grottoes, fissures, passageways and deep narrow canyons….”

Outdoor recreation was Abbey’s rebellion against the decaying and overcrowded cities. In the 1980s, as a succession of Reagan-era appointees sought to weaken protection of federal lands, “Desert Solitaire” became a must-read for environmentalists and Abbey found himself speaking to crowds of hundreds, denouncing money-grubbers who willy-nilly looted the public domain. His death in 1989 silenced his outraged voice, but no one will ever be able to silence the power of “Desert Solitaire,” his wild-goat cry to leave it as it was. “A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original,” Abbey warned, “is cutting itself off from its origins.”]

 

If “Yes” Had a Superlative

7) Be prepared to experience race as the racial minority

I had been in other contexts where I was a racial minority (say Latin America or Nepal), where I was celebrated for my race or at least acknowledged as neutral. This is different on “The Rez”.

The reality is that most whites coming onto native land over the last 100 years have been exploiting, whether intentionally or not, these indigenous communities. Additionally, the last time there was serious activism on these reservations many of the whites trying to get involved were FBI informants. While all races are genuinely invited to all the camps at Standing Rock, as a white person you will find yourself having to prove yourself to be an exception to the rule. Ironically, this is how I imagine what it is like being a racial minority in America in general, where you have to continuously prove yourself to be the exception to stereotypes imposed on you by the majority culture. If you are paying the slightest bit of attention, you will experience what it is like to be a racial minority with an attached sense of “otherness”, and this will likely change how you view the world.

pipelines

12 Ways to Be an Effective Ally at Standing Rock

Wall Street, Canada, Japan and Europe Invest in Dakota Access Pipeline | Rick Perry and then Some Finalized the Deal in Congress

The warriors will need all the help they can get.

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Kelcey Warren | Founder and CEO of Energey Transfer Partnership LLC

One question would be, how is it possible for the Injun folk resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline construction practically alone, while the overwhelming majority of Americans sit comfortably aside, merely praising or condemning the audacity of a handful of tribes to protest in the middle of nowhere. The issue was masterfully framed to divert focus to a harmless and, to some, even entertaining third page subtle mention -until dogs attacked human beings, and thousands instead of hundreds started gathering-; not even a spectacle (barely portrayed in the mainstream media, if at all). So, here it is (MONEY TRAIL EXPOSED | Marc Belisle for Reverbpress):

[Dakota Access LLC, the company that owns the pipeline, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Texas company, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). Kelcey Warren is the founder, chairman and CEO of ETP. Warren is listed by Forbes as one of the top 400 richest Americans, worth over $4 billion. In 2015, Bloomberg published an exposé on Warren, describing how he was “having fun in the oil bust.” Buried deep beneath descriptions of his lavish lifestyle and supposed brilliance for being positioned to corner the market on transporting fuel from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) when oil prices crashed, was this tidbit about his business model,

Energy Transfer Partners is one of four master limited partnerships over which Warren has effective control. MLPs, used primarily by energy companies, don’t pay income taxes. Instead, investors holding units—the rough equivalent of shares—pay taxes on the quarterly cash distributions they receive.

That gives MLPs a lower cost of capital for acquisitions and construction projects. But they have to crank out those cash payments to keep unitholders happy, which means they must keep acquiring new properties or expanding existing ones. “You must grow until you die,” Warren says. He touched on the topic during Energy Transfer’s quarterly earnings conference call earlier this month. He said he was “a little frustrated right now” because he had expected that cheap oil and narrow natural gas processing margins would have created more takeover bargains.

…………………..

So, who is investing in this black snake? Citibank is acting as the accountant for three companies in the ETP network that will fund the project, Democracy Now reported. Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics, and Energy Transfer Equity have each launched a line of credit. Research by Little Sis revealed that 38 banks have invested in those credit lines in amounts ranging from $30 million to $589.5 million for a total of $10.25 billion. These banks include such Wall Street usual suspects as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Citibank.

 But the investors also include a wide array of foreign banks, responsible for roughly half of the overall investment. The two largest investors, each with over half a billion in the pot, are two of Japan’s biggest banks, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Bank. Other big investments come from some of the biggest banks in Canada, France, Britain as well as Scotland, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. The pattern that I notice is that these are central banks in countries that are stalwarts of the Western alliance, who also don’t produce much of their own oil.

This brings us to one of the fishiest aspects of this pipeline.

In a 2014 presentation delivered to officials in Iowa, one of the four states the pipeline will run through, the company claimed the pipeline would “Increase America’s Energy Independence. 100% Domestic produced crude supports 100% domestic consumption.” There is zero wiggle-room within that statement. The company promised that all of its product would be piped to domestic US markets when it convinced officials to allow the pipeline.

Yet, in a bizarrely fortuitous coincidence, in December, 2015, Congress lifted a ban on the export of crude oil that had been in place for over 40 years. The Intercept‘s Lee Fang reported that the company now refuses to defend its initial “100% domestic consumption” promise.

“We will not own the oil that is transported through the pipeline. We are like FedEx. We will deliver the oil to the refineries for the producers,” said Vicki Granado, Energy Transfer Partner’s spokesperson.
The bill that changed ETP from a champion of domestic consumption to a darling of foreign banks with no responsibility whatsoever to where the crude is going was H.R. 2029. In February, 2015, ETP hired former Texas governor Rick Perry onto the board of directors while he was facing felony corruption charges (which were later dismissed), claiming that there were “no arrangements or understandings” between Perry and the board. Yet, Perry almost immediately went to work lobbying Congress to pass H.R. 2029 and lift the ban on crude exports. Meanwhile, Kelcy Warren made his largest publicly acknowledged political gift when he donated at least $6 million to Opportunity and Freedom PAC, a Super PAC supporting Rick Perry’s 2016 bid for the presidency.

H.R. 2029 was sponsored by Charlie Dent, Republican House Rep for Pennsylvania’s 15th District. According to OpenSecrets‘ analysis of filings, Dent’s largest contributor in 2016 is the German chemical corporation BASF SE. The financial adviser to BASF SE is the German giant, Deutsche Bank, which has over a quarter of a billion dollars invested in the Dakota Access pipeline.

When H.R. 2029 passed the Senate, Oklahoma Senator and leader of the well funded climate change denialist caucus, James “I have a snowball” Inhofe lauded the bill:

“It is about time Congress acted to lift the ban on oil exports,” Inhofe said. “Over the past forty years, Oklahoma’s oil producers have been at a disadvantage because they haven’t been able to trade oil like the rest of the world. This has contributed to the thousands of job losses Oklahoma has recently endured and today’s passage of a bill to lift the ban will help stem that tide while decreasing the price of gasoline at the pump.”

With all of this evidence that prominent political actors received kickbacks for the Dakota Access pipeline, one can’t help but wonder how much other influence peddling went into the approval for this pipeline, which snakes through 4 states, had to get approval by multiple federal agencies, and was freed to export by an Act of Congress. One wonders, with so much Wall Street money flowing into the project, if it is even remotely possible that the activists of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies can get a fair hearing in our Justice system, which has already ignored their concerns and allowed a private company to attack them with dogs. With so much foreign money flowing into the project, one wonders not only whether Native American sovereignty–a deadly serious issue with a traumatic history–is at stake, but whether the sovereignty of the United States generally is under pressure.

This pipeline is a monstrosity of globalist corporate influence stomping on the sovereignty of Native Americans and threatening their land. A few thousand Native Americans and allies are the only ones standing between the bulldozers and American democracy which has done precious little for them, and the environment. Their case heads to federal court on Friday after Dakota Access allegedly bulldozed a sacred Sioux burial site the tribe specifically asked the government to protect. North Dakota’s governor Jack Dalrymple is deploying the National Guard to the site of protests on Friday. And with so much global money invested in the pipeline, and the government seemingly asleep at the wheel, it’s hard to escape the sinking feeling that the tribe is going to need all the help they can get.]

Standing Rock | A Professor’s Plea to Keep this Pure, and Non-Violent | Still…

[Odysseas Elytis | Axion Esti -excerpt]

A lone swallow amidst the precious Spring,
it takes painful labor to turn the Sun,
the dead by the thousands to grind on the wheels,
and the living their blood to shed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

God, my Master Builder, You too amidst the lilacs,
God, my Master Builder, You too inhaled the scent of Resurrection

_________________________________________________________________

[In the southern heart of North Dakota, we may be witnessing the beginning of a national and international pan-Indian renewal of First Peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans. Anything that helps rebuild Indian pride, cultural confidence and a firm and solid assertion of Native American rights is a good thing for all of us, for all Americans.It is past time to bring the Two Cultures into legal and cultural parity, and to end the long train of domination by the Recent Americans over the Original Americans.

Still….]

dakotas

CLAY JENKINSON: Standing Rock — A Plea To Keep This Pure — And Non-Violent

Sorry