NoDAPL Water Protectors Unleash Legal Attack Dogs

Bracing for the harsh winter as the pipeline fight moves to the courts

In the northeast we think our winters are something to brag about. Sometimes six months long, two straight months of bitter cold, the nights not fit for man or beast. Multiply the worst of that by 10 and we might be close to what it is like out here at Standing Rock, Hunkpapa Territory. Good lord, how do these people survive in this isolation and in these severe winters?

Fifty-mile-per-hour winds whipping -14 temps right into the shelter and up my skirt, literally tearing to shreds all around me the tent I just bought for more than $200. I spent two nights at the camp, both nights in my truck, engine on and the heat on high. Next night, I got a room. Welcome to the fight to protect the water.

I visit the camp regularly these days, sometimes twice a day to keep track of the rumors or to find someone for the attorneys who need witnesses in coming liability cases.

A note about cases. Criminal cases were due to begin today, Monday, December 19. Meanwhile, liability cases are being developed and will continue to accumulate: Expect up to 200 cases to be pressed against the State, the Governor, Morton County and the individual security and police personnel identified in alleged wrongful acts. This legal strategy is the revenge that will rain about the heads and shoulders of the criminals protecting the Black Snake. North Dakota just might go broke defending itself, or it will deal and settle. But, I have no doubts that they will pay for their disregard to life and limb of the water protectors. The authorities at this point are engaged in a cluster #$&k, and I can’t wait for the finger pointing and the Nuremburg-worthy excuse, “I was only following orders.” German names proliferate in this part of the state, the rest are NDNs. Coincidence? Racist? Not really, I just have an appreciation for history.

As for the Dakota Access Pipeline’s advancement: There is no advancement at this point. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not entertain any questions of easements without an Environmental Impact Statement, so the project is on hold. The DAPL can only drill up to the federal land area, but not beyond. DAPL does so only to egg on the reduced number of water protectors.

The camp is emptying out after two huge, wicked ball-numbing snowstorms accompanied by deep negative degree temps. Some hardy types are trying to stay, but the reality is that the Corps plans to flood the drill site to discourage DAPL from drilling on Federal lands. When it does, the land where the main camps are will flood a bit. But come a mid-winter thaw or spring, the ice will jam, as it has done forever and the flat lands of the camps will truly flood, with water and huge ice chunks.

In the main camp (Oceti Sakowin) roughly 500 people remain. Maybe 600. In the Sacred Stone Camp, across the Cannonball River, there are another 500 people, maybe. Half of them are camped on the opposing flood plain. Yesterday, Sunday, it seemed as if they were all here at the Prairie Knights Casino Hotel or in Bismarck. It got down to -27 last night not counting the wind chill factor. Holy frostbite alert, Batman.

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