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Crowd protests pipeline 1,200 miles away outside energy firm’s Dallas HQ

Crowd protests pipeline 1,200 miles away outside energy firm’s Dallas HQ

Crowd protests pipeline 1,200 miles away outside energy firm’s Dallas HQ
November 03
18:56 2016

DALLAS – Chants of “no justice, no peace” from more than 100 people reverberated off the headquarters of Energy Transfer Partners Tuesday. 

Demonstrators lined the sidewalks of Westchester Drive and walked around the North Dallas office building to protest the pipeline they say will cause more bad than good.  This was the fourth #NoDAPL protest organized in front of the Energy Transfer Partners Dallas headquarters since construction began on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Keep it in the soil, you can’t drink oil,” protesters chanted.

The demonstration comes on the heels of growing protests from Native American groups and environmental activists near Cannonball, North Dakota, since August. The situation escalated Thursday when armed soldiers and police arrested protesters who had been camped out near the construction site, according to the Associated Press.

The arrest of more than 400 people in Cannonball pushed Dallas resident Marissa Rocha to attend and participate in the protest. She made it back to Texas in time for the demonstration Tuesday.

“When I was in the car driving down from North Dakota all I could do was cry,” Rocha said. “I experienced people from all walks of life that are committed to our water and committed to things that are right and beautiful, things that we need to change.”

In Shelby County, Alabama, seven workers were injured on Monday when a gasoline pipeline, owned by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, exploded.

“Do you know the amount of pipelines that burst each year? It’s ridiculous,” protester Ron Eenigenburg said. “To think that there won’t be any mishap going on under the Missouri river is foolish.”

The Dallas company will be building the 1,170-mile pipeline to transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It’s set to cost about $3.8 billion and will cut through the Standing Rock Reservation. Protesters and Sioux Tribe members have said the pipeline will endanger water supplies and disturb sacred burial sites.

“We stand with Standing Rock,” protesters chanted.

Yolonda BlueHorse, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, stepped up to the megaphone to address the crowd of protesters. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is a distant relative of the Rosebud Sioux tribe. BlueHorse wanted to address her concerns and the concerns of her people.

“It hurts really bad inside my heart to hear how my people are being treated,” BlueHorse said. “It hurts to see my own people be hurt, be shot at, and that the entities that are supposed to be protecting them are not there doing their job.”

She looked up at the headquarters and called upon the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, Kelcy Warren, to come down and address protesters. The crowd listened and jeered their support.

“If you’re a true leader you come out and you confront. Come out and face us here,” BlueHorse said, calling to Warren. “But yet you hide, you hide.”

Rute Belachew, a UNT anthropology junior, was among those protesting in front of the Dallas headquarters, along with a few friends from Texas Woman’s University. As an Ethiopian immigrant, she said she empathizes with Native Americans and has a passion for supporting their culture.

“Basically, they’re not even caring about human life or property. They’re just doing it for money,” she said. “It’s messed up.”

The protest near the construction site continues, with thousands still camped out at Standing Rock. They have renewed confidence after an anonymous donor paid $2.5 million to release all those arrested there. And according to WFAA, sources said a talk between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Energy Transfer Partners may be in the works in the next few days. But the meeting could not be confirmed.

Another #NoDAPL protest and prayer rally will happen 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, outside Energy Transfer Dallas headquarters.

Photos by Hannah Ridings

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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