Activists are gearing up for a national day of action Tuesday against the Dakota Access Pipeline. More than 200 protests are planned, with seven communities in the Puget Sound region taking part.
The action was planned before an announcement late yesterday that the Army Corps of Engineers has suspended work on the project while it looks into tribal concerns.
“Nothing changes much, because that’s what they said in September,” said Seattle resident Matt Remle, who will be part of a protest at the Ballard Locks featuring prayers, drumming and a candlelit procession. He says he wants to see enforcement that would stop the company building the pipeline.
"They’ve already been bulldozing over and desecrating burial sites. They’ve already been bulldozing sacred sites and sites of historical and cultural significance,” he said.
Remle is an indigenous activist and teacher from Standing Rock and says the ongoing construction of the pipeline is a violation of tribal treaty rights and an act of environmental racism.
The route it was originally planned for was rejected because of a risk to the drinking water in Bismarck. Now it’s crossing tribal lands.
“I mean if they’re saying that a pipeline North of Bismark would have a potential devastating impact on – let’s be honest – the majority white folks in Bismark, then why is okay to go south of there and put it directly above Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, all the Lakota-Dakota Reservations?” Remle said.
The protestors are targeting decision makers with the Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the Ballard Locks. The corps could still deny the permit allowing the pipeline to cross beneath the Missouri River. And the activists are calling on President Obama to reject the project while he’s still in office.
Other protests Tuesday are taking place in Bothell, Puyallup, Port Townsend, Coupeville, Silverdale and Vashon.
Several of the actions are also aimed at the banks that are financing the pipeline.