Oil pumping. Photo by: Pexels.com
Oil pumping. Photo by: Pexels.com

The Water Protectors and Members from the United States Military Take on the Oil and Gas Companies

The Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter on Friday to the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe explaining that the violent confrontations have taken place, and they are shutting down the campgrounds, (area north of the Cannonball River, including the Oceti Sakowin camp). After December 5, protestors will be cited and charged with trespassing if still on the land.

The trespassing citation is just a way for government to try and clear some of the land for the oil companies to dig under the Missouri River. According to standingrock.org, the website notes that: ‘The tribe maintains jurisdiction on all reservation lands, including rights-of-way, waterways, and streams running through the reservation; this in turn leads to on-going jurisdictional disputes in criminal and civil court.’

The passage from the Standing Rock website shows why the Native Americans are so upset. They were informed to have control over water safety, and the oil and gas companies are taking that away with the force of the government.

One of my biggest concerns is that the oil and gas companies would rather forgo money fighting a losing battle, risk pubic safety, and create more division in our country, in comparison to moving away from fossil fuels, and developing new renewable energy projects.

The New York Times reported: ‘On Monday, the police confronted hundreds of protesters. Nearly 300 people were treated for injuries resulting from the use of police force, according to the Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council.’

Below Fox News reports on YouTube that veterans from the United States military are headed to Standing Rock to protect the safety of the protestors, the drinking water within the country they are putting their lives on the line for, and to protect the First Amendment.

This makes the entire debate even more meaningful. On one side of the fence will be Native Americans, residents of the United States, Fox News in arms with CNN, and members of the U.S. military. On the other side, will be law enforcement being funded by tax payers of the United States to fight for oil and gas companies wanting to pollute waterways that both sides of the fence will be drinking. ‘Talk about a snake in the waterhole.’

I have remained silent on this topic until now.

To have the most noble people on earth defending the environment for the safety of others from the oil and gas companies is the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever seen in my life. It is appalling that any elected official would allow this to happen.

The First Amendment states that:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Beyond left or right wing politics, this issue is one of the most vital moments in our country’s history. President Obama has been able to temporarily prevent the pipeline from crossing under the Missouri River, but was unable to get the the Army Corps of Engineers from considering an alternative route for the project.

Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, told The Associated Press it would not consider a different route.

The pipeline has not only hit a human shield, but it has also been held up legally in court. Donald Trump is set to take the role as United States president on Friday, January 20, 2017. With his recent first 100-day address, Trump mentions that he wants to lift regulations on coal and shale. Additionally, CBS reported:

Trump’s 2016 federal disclosure forms show he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. That’s down from between $500,000 and $1 million a year earlier.

If Trump wants to honor the veterans and really make American great again, he will use this moment as a tide changer for his presidency. If he remains silent, he will walk into a large problem during his first 100-days as president.

Veterans to stand with Standing Rock protesters