“We accept these consequences because the consequences of our inaction would be far too great.”
The halls of the Boone County Courthouse were buzzing Thursday morning, as members of CCI’s NoBakken 30 awaited their day in court to answer to the charge of trespassing for attempting to prevent further construction on a pipeline running from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, to Illinois refineries. Most of the members of the protest group pleaded “no contest” to the charges.
The charges stemmed from arrests made at a Bakken pipeline work site near Pilot Mound, on August 31st, when protesters physically placed themselves in the way of heavy equipment to protect precious farm land and water resources from excavation.
Of those who braved arrest, IDP State Central Committee member Jessica Fears and IDP Progressive Platform Committee Vice Chair Crystal Defatte, made their stand against a project that has received a great deal of attention as of late because of the efforts to protect Native land by the Dakota and Lakota tribes in North Dakota. “We stand with Standing Rock!” Chanted the group at a press conference immediately following the hearing.
CCI is not the only organization in Iowa fighting against the pipeline. Eighteen members of Bold Iowa, including former Democratic State Representative Ed Fallon, will have their own day in court for trespassing tomorrow. The hearing is expect to start at 8:30 AM at the Boone County Courthouse.
The protesters aren’t only concerned with the destruction of farmland and potentially catastrophic damage to watersheds and reservoirs. The abuse of eminent domain to force the acquisition of farmland has also been front and center in the arguments against the pipeline. Many of the protesters cited concerns with the continued reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses. There was also concern that pipeline would also encourage the fracking industry, which has already been called into question in Oklahoma after the state suffered a near 6.0 earthquake directly attributed to the disposal of waste water. “We accept these consequences because the consequences of our inaction would be far too great,” Crystal Defatte said in a statement made to the press.
For some this was the first time they had ever been arrested. For many of them, it won’t be the last. They are fighting for all of us, and for the generations that come after us. For this, Progressive Voices of Iowa give our thanks and declare that we stand with the NoBakken 30.
To help with further action against the Bakken Oil Pipeline and help fund the legal defense fund for these efforts, please go to the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement webpage.
For more photographs of this event, please click here