DALLAS -- Chanting “we stand with Standing Rock” and “no justice, no peace,” about 100 protesters lined the sidewalks of Westchester Drive and Weldon Howell Parkway Tuesday afternoon in front of the Dallas headquarters of Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company at the heart of the months-long pipeline standoff in North Dakota.
Since the protests began last August and last weekend erupted into pepper spray, riot gear, and mass arrests on a rural private road, more than 400 protesters have been arrested.
Protesters first brought their complaints to the front door of Energy Transfer Partners in Dallas back in September, returning Tuesday after the protests turned violent in North Dakota.
Energy Transfer Partners operates 71,000 miles of natural gas and crude oil pipelines in the United States. Dakota Access is now its most controversial 1,200 miles.
Its route falls within in a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, taking it through what the tribe considers ancestral burial sites and underneath the tribe’s primary water source.
“They intend to continue protesting until that pipeline is routed away from their water source,” said Associated Press Video Journalist John Mone, reporting from the scene in North Dakota, “and if that means staying and weathering a frigid North Dakota winter, they are prepared to do it. It’s not a big deal for them. As they said, our people did that for hundreds if not thousands of years, we’ll do it again.”
But some of the protesters in Dallas had other, more systemic reasons they were out in front of Energy Transfer Partners Tuesday.
“This is not America,” said protester Marissa Rocha, who said she just returned from the North Dakota protests. “America is not corporations steamrolling over people past their rights. And then, having the police and the military support that, beyond all reasonable thinking.”
Energy Transfer Partners has repeatedly turned down requests for in on-camera interviews.
It sent only a brief statement to News 8: “[...] Safety has been and remains our top priority – the safety of our employees and our assets, the safety of those who live and work in the area, and the safety of the environment.”
But the protesters offered recent evidence to prove their point.
A different pipeline company, Colonial, suffered a gasoline pipeline explosion on Monday in Shelby County, Alabama. One worker was killed and five more injured. Environmental damage is still being assessed.
It was the second issue with that pipeline in the last month, and evidence for protesters that pipelines rupture and leak, and accidents do happen.
“And we need to let them know that there are people in their community and all across the nation, across the world who oppose this and think that this is wrong,” said activist Elisa Dallas at the local protest.
Thousands continue their protests in North Dakota after a private benefactor offered $2.5 million to make sure each of the more than 140 arrested over the weekend were able to be released from jail.
Sources indicate that a meeting may be in the works the next few days between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Energy Transfer Partners, and the Department of Justice. But that meeting could not be independently confirmed.