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Kelowna chapter at emergency rally for Standing Rock, February 11

The Council of Canadians Kelowna chapter will be at an emergency rally tomorrow against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Facebook promotion for the rally says, “Join us outside of TD Bank in Kelowna’s downtown to show support for Standing Rock’s Water Protectors and pressure TD and RBC to Divest from extractive industry.”

Rabble.ca has noted, “According to a report from Food and Water Watch, an American consumer rights watchdog, at least three Canadian banks — Scotiabank, TD and RBC — are helping to bankroll the Dakota Access Pipeline. TD Securities is directly financing $365 million toward the construction of the DAPL and, additionally, the oil and gas infrastructure projects of one of the pipeline’s joint owners, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. RBC and Scotiabank are providing $341 million and $100 million respectively toward Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, another joint owner of the DAPL.”

Energy Transfer Partners LP said yesterday that it has started drilling under Lake Oahe despite a court challenge by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that will be heard on Monday (February 13). The company began drilling after it received federal permission on Wednesday. The company is also now saying that the pipeline could be operational by early May.

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Four days after he was sworn into office, Trump, who has vowed to expand fossil fuel production and roll back environmental regulations, encouraged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to abandon the review ordered under Obama. On Tuesday, the Corps announced that it had done so. The next day, it granted the easement, which allows construction across Corps land and a dammed section of the Missouri River. The main section of the pipeline that remains to be built would be laid beneath the dammed river, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.”

Reuters adds, “Energy Transfer Partners needs only to cross beneath Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system, to connect a final 335 metre gap in the 1,885 kilometre pipeline, which will move oil from the Bakken shale formation to a terminus in Patoka, Illinois. From there the oil would flow to another pipeline connecting south-central Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico and that region’s numerous oil refineries. Native American tribes and climate activists have vowed to fight the pipeline, fearing it will desecrate sacred sites and endanger a source of the country’s largest drinking water reservoir.”

Unfortunately, success in court doesn’t appear likely.

The Reuters article adds, “To obtain the temporary restraining order, the tribe must convince the judge there will be immediate harm suffered and prove it has a strong overall case should its lawsuit to halt the project result in a full trial. The U.S. district judge in the case, James Boasberg, previously rejected the tribe’s request to block the project, ruling in September that the Army Corps of Engineers likely complied with the law in permitting the pipeline to go forward.”

The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It would cross 200 waterways, including the Missouri River, which is upstream of Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s main source of drinking water, and the Mississippi River.

The Council of Canadians first expressed its solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux on August 19, 2016 and since then our chapters in Regina, Chilliwack, Kent County, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Prince Edward Island, Peterborough-Kawarthas, London, Victoria, Thunder Bay, Powell River, and now Kelowna, along with staff in Vancouver and Ottawa, have participated in solidarity actions.