Environmentalists and Indian American activists are using the same campaign method used to torpedo the Dakota Access Pipeline to halt a natural gas pipeline in Texas.
Protests against the Trans-Pecos pipeline, a 148-mile project transporting natural gas through the Big Bend region in Texas to Mexico, have attracted several dozen activists during its first week.
Demonstrators plan on using tactics that helped scuttle the so-called DAPL pipeline in North Dakota on Trans-Pecos — in particular, they are setting up campsites near the project’s construction site and planning nonviolent “direct actions” against those building it.
“We’re going to follow the same model as Standing Rock,” Frankie Orona, executive director of the Society of Native Nations, told reporters Monday. “This is a huge historical moment for environmental issues, for protecting our water, protecting our land, protecting sacred sites and protecting treaties.”
The Two Rivers campsite popped up a month after the Army Corps of Engineers rejected a previously approved route for the nearly 1,200-mile-long DAPL project, a pipeline spearheaded by the same developer behind Trans-Pecos, Energy Transfer Partners.
Activists and members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe spent months railing against the $3.7 billion DAPL project based on the belief that it will trample tribal grounds and potentially poison the tribe’s primary water supply, the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
They believe President-elect Donald Trump could approve the line’s route at a moment’s notice once sworn into office. They’re now taking the fight to the financial institutions invested in the pipeline.
DAPL protesters have turned their sights on the financial institutions invested in the pipeline.TD Bank, for instance, is being targeted because it has contributed about $365 million into the line’s construction. DAPL would bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from western North Dakota to southern Illinois.
Citi Group and Wells Fargo are also being pressured by anti-fracking activists and members of the Standing Rock Sioux to halt any and all monetary backing of the company responsible for constructing the DAPL.
Those demonstrating against the Trans-Pecos line are appropriating many of the anti-DAPL protester positions.
Big Bend Conservation Alliance, a group opposing the line, worries the project could “open the door to additional industrial infrastructure and destroy the pristine nature of the region.” Its members also want the government to conduct an environmental assessment to ensure the Trans-Pecos line won’t pollute the Rio Grande River or other watersheds.
“Our hope is that we can create a public pressure crisis,” said Lori Glover, a Big Bend Defense Coalition spokeswoman. “I hope this helps us stop the pipeline long enough to get the government and Energy Transfer Partners’ attention and push them to do the right thing.”
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