Green Energy Companies Helped Bankroll Tribe Behind Dakota Protests

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Two green energy companies contributed a quarter of a million dollars to the American Indian tribe spearheading a months-long demonstration against an oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Standing Rock Sioux voted unanimously April 5 to accept two $150,000 donations from ConEdison Development and Fagen Inc., both of which have partnered up to build windmills in the North Dakota area, according to internal documents kept by the tribe.

ConEdison Development acquired land near Standing Rock’s reservation and began construction on a wind power facility last year. Fagen was a contractor on the project.

The $250,000 donations to the tribe were meant as a show of appreciation for the Standing Rock’s cooperation in building the Campbell County Wind Farm, Mark Noyes, president and CEO of ConEdison Development, told reporters at the time.

They were also directed toward supporting public housing on the tribe’s reservation, according to Noyes.

“We wanted to go ahead and build the wind project and be part of the community. The tribe has other important issues that they need to deal with,” he said. “And you work together to create a win/win for both organizations.”

Both donations came within days of Standing Rock’s initial decision to protest the multi-billion dollar pipeline, which is expected to bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from western North Dakota to southern Illinois.

They also came more than a year after the Campbell County Wind Farm’s completion.

Standing Rock spent several months demonstrating against the $3.7 billion project, arguing the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and destroy artifacts. They also believe it could potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

The donors are involved in a several green energy projects around the U.S. ConEdison’s website listsf 34 wind and solar projects the company is currently working to construct, including the Campbell County Wind Farm.

The pipeline itself is being held up by the Obama administration supposedly to give the government more time to determine the environmental impact it would have on Standing Rock’s reservation.

The DAPL’s construction makes it increasingly likely that President-elect Donald Trump will ultimately determine the project’s future.

The Army Corps of Engineers moved to delay the nearly 1,200 mile-long project again despite having reviewed more than 1,200 pages of environmental and cultural analysis over the past three years, as well as consulting with 55 American Indian tribes nearly 400 times.

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