I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the Dakota Access Pipeline. As important as that one particular action is, the DAP is simply one of many pipelines shoveling dirty and expensive to produce and refine oil around the U.S. and across the boarder with Canada.
You’ve probably also heard about the use of Pepper Spray and Attack Dogs against the (mostly) Native Americam protestors-
And the arrest of Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! for merely reporting on it (she’s not the only one)-
Well, yesterday Climate Change Activists shut down 5 pipelines pumping Tar Sands Oil (though “Oil” is a rather loose term when talking about Tar Sand which looks a lot more like driveway patch asphalt than it does like gasoline)-
As you can see in the video it wasn’t even all that hard to do.
Bolt cutters expose vulnerability of North America’s oil pipeline grid
By Liz Hampton and Ethan Lou, Reuters
Wed Oct 12, 2016, 6:50am EDT
All it took was a pair of bolt cutters and the elbow grease of a few climate activists to carry out an audacious act of sabotage on North America’s massive oil and gas pipeline system.
For an industry increasingly reliant on gadgets such as digital sensors, infrared cameras and drones to monitor security and check for leaks, the sabotage illustrated how vulnerable pipelines are to low-tech attacks.
On Tuesday, climate activists broke through fences and cut locks and chains simultaneously in several states and simply turned the pipelines off.
All they had to do was twist shut giant valves on five cross-border pipelines that together can send 2.8 million barrels a day of crude to the United States from Canada – equal to about 15 percent of daily U.S. consumption.
The activists did no damage to the pipelines, which operating companies shut down as a precaution for checks before restarting.
“You’re not manning these things on a permanent basis. It’s not viable,” said Stewart Dewar, a project manager at Senstar, an Ottawa-based company that authored a 2012 white paper on pipeline security. “It’s too expensive.”
There are more than 200,000 miles (322,000 km) of oil lines and many times that of natural gas lines across the United States. Thousands of rural and often remote pumping and valve stations dot the country.
The cost of posting armed guards at valve stations, usually found every 20 miles along the underground pipelines, would be prohibitive, said Dewar.
For companies, there are few options to police the parts of their pipeline networks that sit above ground, such as the valve stations.
The stations are usually protected by nothing more than the same flimsy chain link fence and padlocks elementary schools use to protect their playgrounds.
Of course pro-Pipeline spokespeople emphasize the danger of an accident (Umm… these are shut off valves guys, they’re designed to cut flow in case of an emergency down line) and are quick to raise the specter of 9/11 (it’s been 15 years folks, you’re in more danger from your bathtub, let alone a car) and I, being the moderate voice of reason I am, would certainly never advocate drastic action.
Direct Action I don’t have a problem with.
You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation.- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 16 April 1963