Thursday, September 01, 2016

Iowa governor follows through on threat against Dakota Access Pipeline protesters; 30 arrested

Hazel Zimmerman was one of the 30 arrested.
(Des Moines Register photo by Rachel Mummey)
Thirty people were arrested in Iowa on Wednesday protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday that he had authorized the Iowa State Patrol "to make arrests and ensure that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline proceeds if protesters follow through on a pledge to engage in civil disobedience in a bid to stop the $3.8 billion project," William Petroski reports for The Des Moines Register.

Protesters have halted construction of the pipeline in North Dakota. The 1,150-mile pipeline is expected to carry as much as 570,000 barrels of Bakken Formation crude from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a pipeline junction in Illinois. It will run through 18 Iowa counties.

About 100 people participated in the Iowa protest, Petroski writes. "The protest represented one of the largest demonstrations yet in Iowa against the four-state pipeline project. It also was the first time a formal effort was made to encourage a large number of arrests in a bid to obstruct construction work in Iowa. Organizers vowed afterward that additional demonstrations will be forthcoming, along with more arrests. Their efforts appeared to have little effect Wednesday on stopping the pipeline construction project. But the people taken into custody said they were acting as a last resort because efforts to prevent the pipeline have repeatedly failed in proceedings with state and federal government regulators, as well as the courts."

"A representative of Precision Pipeline, a contractor for Dakota Access, told the protesters they were not welcome and asked them to leave after they tried to create human chains to block four entrances to the site," Petroski writes. "Authorities then repeatedly told the protesters they had the opportunity to leave without being taken into custody, but all of those arrested refused to move. The arrests all occurred at the construction staging site, said Maj. Randy Kunert of the Iowa State Patrol." (Read more)

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