Protect Water: NO TPPL! NO DAPL!
In North Dakota the Standing Rock Water Protectors have been maced, attacked by dogs, and shot at with "safe bullets" simply because they believe they have the right to protect their water, the Missouri River, from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) for future generations; they have the right to protect their sacred burial grounds; they have a right as citizens of the United States to the protections of Democracy.
We of the Big Bend also have the right to define our community and say no to fossil-fuel expansion, destruction of our environment and our property rights, and the risks of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of highly flammable, explosive, toxic gas pumping through unregulated pipelines, snaking past our homes, through our creeks and the Rio Grande.
The Big Bend is a beautiful, wide-open, desert region of West Texas where the people of its small communities have chosen peace and natural beauty over money. This same region is part of one of the most biodiverse, pristine desert regions of the world--the Chihuahuan Desert and has remained untouched by big industry until now. At it's southern border is the famous Rio Grande River, now threatened by the looming injection of the 42" Trans Pecos Pipeline (TPPL) under its riverbed to deliver Fracked natural gas to Mexico for foreign export profit.
TPPL will tunnel under the Rio Grande only 50 to 75 feet above an acquifer that supplies water to the nearby town of Presidio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), despite pleas from Big Bend National Park, deemed it unnecessary to do an Environmental Impact Study to safely regulate this pipeline to protect endangered species and the drinking water of Presidio. FERC has also unconscionably ignored close to a 1000 public comment requests and numerous intervenor appeals to evaluate the environmental impacts of the entire 148 miles of the TPPL.
On Sunday November 20th in Marfa, TX, Defend Big Bend, the Society of Native Nations, the Big Bend Defense Coalition, and local allies marched 2 miles from the Marfa Lights Viewing Center to an ETP Trans Pecos Pipeline Constructin site. Tensions rose and interactoins with the local police escalated when the Water Protectors crossed the fence line onto the ETP easement to pray and dance for healing of the sacred land.
Big Bend Defense Coalition will be continuing direct actions that impact the construction and funding of the TPPL, CTPL, and DAPL. Our big goal is to construct a Winter Camp for Water Protectors from Texas, Standing Rock , and across the nation.
The black snake must be resisted at both ends, North and South, to stop the brutality of corporate greed.
Please help us to use this crucial moment in American history to redefine, reshape, and reinforce democracy, human rights, and environmental health.
Together we CAN make a DIFFERENCE!
I am so grateful for your support in recent months. I wish I could go and give every single one of you a big giant hug. And, I just might if I run into you!
Court last Wednesday, December 13th, was a victory for our community—we stood together, we made our voices heard and we influenced our elected decision-makers. Up until two days before court, DA Sandy Wilson refused to negotiate fairer terms on my plea deal and I refused to plead guilty to false facts, high charges, and excessive punishment. The continued persistence of my amazing lawyer Jaime Escuder, who I cannot thank enough, and the community, resulted in a Class A Misdemeanor without a jail sentence and much reduced punishment of $500 fine and 6 months probation with deferred adjudication if probation and community service hours are successfully completed. Though I feel the punishment and charges are still too harsh for peaceful protest done out of love for this land and this community, I am happy the results are much more fair than the original threat of jail, huge restitution, and loss of voting rights and other citizenship privileges.
The original indictment of a State Jail Felony for Criminal Mischief accused me of interrupting public gas supply and causing outrageous proportions of loss for a 1-2 hour peaceful protest against a scandalous company, Energy Transfer Partners, who trespassed on private property and violated our community by denying our requests for alternate route options, an escape route for entrapped Sunny Glen residents, and an Environmental Impact Study. DA Sandy Wilson and Sheriff Danny Dominguez used an unfair tactic that, unfortunately, has become commonplace in today’s legal system—overcharging. Overcharging puts the defendant in a frighteningly precarious situation: Risk going to trial where you are at the whim of the jury or plead guilty to the first plea offer that’s less than a felony regardless of whether it is fair or not. Each time the defendant rejects a plea offer, the DA can refuse to offer another, so there is tremendous pressure for defendants to accept offers they are not truly guilty of to escape felony charges. Overcharging ignores the Spirit of the Law and abuses the Letter of the Law.
Our justice system, our democratic system only functions in our interest when we pay attention, participate, and hold our elected representatives accountable. They are human and fallible. Any human system too trusted and unchallenged will run amuck. Ego, success, pride, arrogance, and money are all very effective obstacles to the our true goal—a healthier, happier, more just world. Together we must be vigilant and demand our elected officials represent this vision.
Gas to Mexico via the Trans Pecos Pipeline has gone to bid for the 3rd time and still no bidders. So, were they lying to us when they said Mexico desperately needed this gas? And what about TPPL being called "public utility" that is to serve us common folks in Texas of the USA would need to sell their gas to Mexico in order to operate.
Energy Transfer Partners was allowed to trespass on, take, and destroy over 100 miles of private land, cutting through over 100 waterways including the Rio Grande, and destroying ancient archeological sites for the public good. But, it seems the gas is just going straight to Mexico. So Mexico is now included in the definition of "public utility"? Isn't Mexico across the border? Wouldn't that count as out-of-state and therefore export and so since they have to use the whole pipeline to get it there, shouldn't the whole pipeline have to be regulated and submit to an Environmental Impact Study?
Something fishy here, don't you think?
Meanwhile, good hearted Water Protectors without a billion dollars to back them up and buy politicians are fighting battles in court all over the nation on criminal felony charges for standing their ground through peaceful, nonviolent protest against the unscrupulous destruction of corporate criminals. Is it a crime to care?
If convicted they'll be labeled as a danger to society for the rest of their lives; they'll lose their right to vote; they'll lose career opportunities.
Water Protectors here in West Texas took the risk to make a stand so the demands of the community would be heard nationwide--- Environmental Impact Studies, regulation, and corporate and government accountability. They took this risk because they love Texas, they love the Big Bend, they love America, and they love the Earth.
Winning in the court rooms will help establish our rights as individuals and communities to protect our human rights, our water, land and air, and to protect our planet. Harsh criminal charges for nonviolent, peaceful protest are an attempt by the greedy corporatocracy to silence the people.
Don't let them silence us. Support Water Protectors!
Read the latest on the W TX Water Protectors here:
Other Current Battles Against ETP and Pipelines
Proof that Rising Up is making a difference:
NO VOTE was taken -- his nomination will be taken up once again at their next meeting on April 20th.
We have until the 20th to contact our state senators about Warren... let's all make another round of calls to all the offices!
TEXAS NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Kirk Watson (14th, North Austin, with us)
José Menéndez (with us)
Borris L. Miles (with us)
Red Hawk, a Northern Arapaho from Wyoming, and Christian, a Lakota from Cheyenne River, SD, served on the front lines at Standing Rock through the harshest winter months. They withstood water cannons on the Backwater Bridge in temps 20 degrees below freezing. They withstood tear gas, mace, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and water cannons to protect the rights of the indigenous, the rights of mother earth, and the rights of the American people.
Christian says he grew up roaming free along the Cheyenne River without the threat of police. He remembers the stress and fear of building the bridge to Turtle Island on Thanksgiving Day. "Because of this, I will fight till I get old."
Red Hawk is proud to have protected elders as they were praying on the front lines and, like Christian, will continue to resist: "This fight has become a human rights issue for me because of the brutality we faced everyday at Standing Rock."
The couple spent days traveling by bus to join Two Rivers Camp to continue the fight against the company responsible for building both the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Trans Pecos Pipeline (TPPL). Now that TPPL is in the ground, Two Rivers Camp must transition to south Texas where new pipeline projects will soon begin.
Red Hawk and Christian hope to travel home to Wyoming to rest and spend time with family after helping Two Rivers Camp transition. Then they will return to the front lines to fight construction of DAPL in Iowa.
"Remember there are people fighting for clean water everywhere because there are pipelines being built everywhere." --Red Hawk