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Flags fly at Standing Rock Camp, photo by Lukas Zhao

On the grounds that authorities issuing permits, including the Army Corps of Engineers, did not sufficiently take into account the potential impact of a spill, including all the various ways leaks occur, challenges to detecting and correcting leaks, and the poor track record of the parent company in addressing failing pipeline infrastructure in the past. The courts have ordered a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the pipeline now, and is requesting both sides submit a briefing on the potential precautionary measure of shutting down the pipeline for the duration of the time it takes to prepare and assess the EIS.


Of this victory in a hard-fought, long campaign, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith says, "Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”


The full story is well worth a read here.

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On this day, it is a wonder to think that we are living through this time where people are choosing to put health over profit. Long the message of activists, and so often derided as unrealistic. This message is the root of #waterislife, it is the intent behind the necessity defense, it is also a fundamental tenet of the peace movement. Whenever activists have stood up, for whatever reason, they are generally demanding changes to protect life and health. In these days, the immediate threat has overwhelmed our other demands, except where there are direct intersections - like an end to incarceration or immigration detention where many are becoming infected due to the impossibility of social distancing, or asking for an end to deportations which have already doubled the coronavirus caseload in Honduras, or demanding that we suspend rent, mortgage, eviction, and other systems that could lead to widespread homelessness in the coming months. Each of these movements is organizing petitions (click links above), calls to local, state and national representatives, and fill-the-voicemail or email campaigns to police, ICE, and other institutions. There are also mutual-aid groups organized on city and district levels, with call-lists for shut ins and forms to request or offer assistance (you can start your own!). There are take-it-to-go soup kitchens and food pantries, walk up clinics. Food drop-offs and the like. We are finding ways to hold space for each other, from 6' away. There are new ways to organize long-distance. Sunrise Movement was perhaps the quickest to move their programming online, advertising zoom organizing meetings and phone banking. And yet, some needs, like access to bathrooms and handwashing, are impossible to fill remotely, all the more urgent with so many establishments and outreach centers closed for the coronavirus.


And yet we don't want to leave you with grim necessity, but with joy and hope. So here's a humorous report of activism in the time of COVID19: a friend was outraged that elected representatives would risk IN-PERSON voting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic ... So on the eve of the primary, she made a sign and picketed all by herself in front of the mayor's home. One of the police officers on security detail ran towards her. She called out ‘6 foot distance!’ and stopped him in his tracks!


If only all civil disobedience were resolved so readily in favor of health and safety!

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Do you find yourself with more time to read these days? Here's a rundown of articles (mostly featured on our facebook page during the last month) that are worth catching up on:


+ A Portland, Oregon jury refused to find Extinction Rebellion activists guilty. They had planted a victory garden blocking railroad tracks used for fossil fuel transport.

+ One of the 5 US Valve Turners who acted in 2016, Leonard Higgins, was denied the necessity defense in Montana. The 2016 Valve Turners were inspired by indigenous women activists who turned valves in Canada, and were influential to the Four Necessity Valve Turners.

+ The Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York has been cancelled due to diminished perceived returns, due in large part to regulatory requirements the states were held accountable to by activists.

+ Are you still curious about the Catholic Worker Movement and principles that brought the Four Necessity Valve Turners together? Do you recall thinking the Catholic Worker was urban, or early failed farming experiments? Here's a recent article quoting Four Necessity Valve Turner Brenna Cussen Anglada, as well as her husband and support team member Eric Anglada, among other Catholic Workers reflecting on the movement.

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