Standing Rock Solidarity demonstrators gathered here on Sept. 22 to protest Dakota Access Pipeline construction and “to put people and planet first.” The Iowa Utilities Board, appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad, in March voted to approve the use of eminent domain, or seizure of personal property by the state, for the pipeline’s construction. The pipeline, which is slated to run through both North and South Dakota, Illinois and Iowa, is owned by Energy Transfer Partners L.P., a Houston, Texas corporation.
The Midwest Mobilization was formed in response to the pipeline, comprised of such organizations as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Bold Iowa, 100 Grannies, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance and others to show solidarity with the resistance of Indigenous Nations against DAPL, with allies from Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Iowa CCI organizer Adam Mason said in a Sept. 23 press release, “175 water protectors from across the Midwest — tribes, students, farmers, nurses and more — united in Boone County where Dakota Access is currently drilling under the Des Moines River [near Pilot Mound].”
The Midwest Mobilization rally kicked off at the Boone County Fairgrounds, where three activist workshops were conducted. Afterward, a 60-car caravan traveled from the fairgrounds to the Iowa DAPL construction site. Using 12 vehicles, they blocked an access road on 130th Street to stop Dakota Access trucks from entering or leaving.
DAPL construction in Illinois and South Dakota has been completed, making Iowa and North Dakota “the key battlegrounds left in the pipeline resistance,” according to Iowa CCI organizers.
In an additional victory in this fight, suits filed against Bold Iowa and its director, Ed Fallon, as well as against Iowa CCI and Mason, have been dismissed by a federal judge. Mason said the company had “aimed to silence our ongoing peaceful, nonviolent, direct actions to stop construction of this pipeline that threatens land, water and climate.”
Since the start of construction, peaceful demonstrators have been harassed and arrested by local police and state troopers. Some 28 Iowans were arrested on Aug. 31 for “blocking the roadways into Dakota Access’s worker staging area outside of Boone,” according to Mason.
Bakken Pipeline Resistance activist Mark Edwards said on Sept. 5, “One spill, for 1 hour, has the potential to leave 1 million gallons of toxic crude” in the Des Moines River and contaminate other water supplies.”
Christine Nobiss, founder of Iowa to the Camp of Sacred Stones and a descendent of the Plains Cree and Saulteaux nations, said the endgame of the anti-DAPL movement is to confront climate change. “We are being led toward a mass extinction event by our greed and amazing ability to evade the obvious and scary truth.”
Organizers want to continue putting pressure on the Obama administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others complicit in the pipeline’s construction.
Activist Sylvana Flute, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate nation, told Iowans, “We are going back to Standing Rock, and we are going to spread the word. We are all in this together, and we are here to support you.”