Dakota Access Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners filed court papers late yesterday (March 20), reports The Associated Press, that mentions “coordinated physical attacks” along the pipeline route.
Though the two and a half-page filing doesn’t give extensive details, it does state that these alleged attacks “pose threats to life, physical safety and the environment,” per the AP. Chelsea Hawkins, the spokesperson for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, responded to Colorlines’ request for comment by referring to chairman Dave Archambault II’s online Q&A. She did not provide a comment in direct response to these new allegations.
Jan Hasselman, the tribe’s legal counsel said, via Earthjustice:
"My client is a sovereign government. It has repeatedly and consistently taken a very clear position – that it is pursuing all lawful options to block this project, and that it is opposed to all forms of violence, including property destruction as well as violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters."
Jay O’Hara of the Climate Disobedience Center, which has been responsible for direct actions against oil pipelines in the past, told the AP that the organization hasn’t been involved in any moves against the project and doesn’t plan to target it.
In North Dakota, Joye Braun, a frontline organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, denied these claims from the company. Instead, she thinks this is one of Energy Transfer Partners’ “false allegations.” Water protectors haven’t attacked any pipeline workers, Braun says, but rather she alleges that these workers have targeted Native opponents to the pipeline.
“So they haven’t been attacked,” Braun says. “We have.”
These conflicting claims come as the company prepares to finalize the 1,172-mile long pipeline for crude oil transport, which was slated to begin between yesterday and tomorrow (March 22).
Energy Transfer Partners continues to receive pushback from pipeline investors, with Netherlands-based financial institution ING announcing yesterday that it sold its $120 million share of loan debt for the project.