Fighting Pipelines Is Now Dangerous

23 Mar

Manatee photo by Jill Yelverton

Pipeline Resistance Dangers and Quashing Dissent in Florida–Why We Must Stop Sabal Trail

Anita Stewart / Deep Green Resistance Florida

The pipeline broke ground the first week of September 2016. Despite recent articles making it sound like they just began construction, according to some accounts the pipeline is 90-95% complete. The plans for this pipeline were implemented in 2013 to transport fracked gas/methane from various areas up north. We were talking to citizens back then but few heard us and there were almost no stories in the mainstream media. In many places right now, the pipe is already installed and covered with soil. The product from this pipeline is going for export. It will not do anything to help Americans in the way of jobs or lowering energy costs.

A Spectra employee told one of our legal people that once the pipe is installed, anything can be run through it including tar sands, bitumen, crude oil, etc. There are forty-four pipelines being planned or built in North America right now. They are all connected in some manner. This is an infrastructure that the powers that be will be able to do almost anything with. Of biggest concern to Floridians is the possibility of this pipeline being a stepping stone for the fracking industry to gain a foothold in this state. It appears that the entire nation has become the latest sacrifice zone. The robbing of natural resources in foreign lands has come home to the US. As Russell Means, indigenous leader and activist said before he passed, “…we are ALL living on the reservation now.”

People have been affected everywhere. Property owners in the path of the pipeline in three states have become the victims of the bastardized and expanded definition of eminent domain. And other property owners near or contiguous to the pipeline path are in just as much danger. They can’t even sell their properties for a dollar, so to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, most will have to walk away from them. Areas where the poor and people of color reside are targeted because they have limited access to vital information regarding the far reaching and devastating impacts of the pipelines. Nor do they possess the resources to fight legally.

The impact to flora, fauna, our soil and water and even the human impact cannot be measured. Corporate media, elected officials, and even environmental organizations rarely mention the dangers from explosions; chemical releases; and contamination of water, soil and air which are a common occurrence anywhere there is a pipeline.

The most serious threats to all life here include the prevalence of sinkholes almost everywhere in this state and with Florida’s unique karst geology, the pipelines can shift under the ground; there is no way to keep them stable. Our governor has proposed transporting this product via passenger rail. The processing centers are being planned next to nuclear facilities and our shipping ports. What could possibly go wrong?

As evidenced by Standing Rock and other pipeline fights across the country, it is no longer safe to overtly resist. Bodily injury, legal implications resulting in insurmountable financial costs, losing employment and having a criminal record takes a toll on grassroots activists. The need for financial backing to continue to resist has been made a priority and often results in scams. Even environmental groups have taken payouts by the polluters. Sincere, grassroots activists are not clear on what environmental group or which individual activist to support. Activism is mimicking the capitalist beast and many are not even aware of this as it has become so commonplace.

Of further concern now are the attempts to quash resistance and opposition organizing online. There is a blatant disregard of those laws that are supposed to maintain our personal sovereignty, allow for us to be truly free, and guarantee an open and free press as evidenced by the ACLU needing to challenge an overbroad warrant to search Facebook data of a group protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

With the police shooting and killing of James Marker after he allegedly fired his weapon at the pipeline on February 26th, activists are asking themselves if their current methods of dissent are working or if new strategies to resist are needed.

A creative strategy to fight the pipelines is to use art and the installation of a biogeographical sculpture on private property that will be seized through eminent domain. The Blued Trees Symphony was created by Aviva Rahmani to challenge eminent domain via the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, a copyright law. There has been a move to do this in Florida but getting the information on the eminent domain cases and contacting the eminent domain victims/homeowners has proved to be a daunting and challenging task in such a huge state. This strategy was not effective in the state of New York and their fight against pipelines there, but different states have different laws; it could work here in Florida.

The Sabal Trail Pipeline is projected to be complete by June 1, 2017. The fight is on to stop it.

So what is next? “Voting harder” does not ensure the value of our individual votes due to a corrupt system which has already been usurped by those who value money over the justice of natural law.

Will standing on a street corner with a sign work? Camping out? More arrests? We know that our existing methods need an upleveling. Deep Green Resistance has a strategy to fight: Decisive Ecological Warfare (DEW). Based on military strategies, tactics, stories from history, rebellions, insurgencies and liberation movements from everywhere, DEW is offensive, and can be used when defensive methods alone have been ineffective. These strategies and tactics have been taught in the military for decades because they work!

What is needed now is training in the culture of resistance and in time-tested tactics. Learn more by reading the Deep Green Resistance book or visiting our main website. Then join us in the fight.

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