Last week, two people chained themselves to the entrance of an Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) pipeline-construction site in Alpine, Texas, the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline in running through Texas, called the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, will transport natural gas into Mexico. Opponents have fought the Trans-Pecos for the past two years.
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The action, inspired in part by the protest at Standing Rock, illustrates the diverse array of social and environmental conflicts along the existing and expanding network of pipeline infrastructure in the United States.
Opponent of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. (Sasha von Oldershausen/The Nation)
In what appears a significant turning point of the conflict, the Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill its pipeline under the Missouri River. This is a major victory for environmental and indigenous rights activists who have protested the Dakota Access pipeline, being built near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. As the New York Times notes, the pipeline has become “a global flash point for environmental and indigenous rights activism, drawing thousands of people … to a sprawling prairie camp of tents, tepees and yurts.”
The future of the Dakota Access pipeline is far from certain, as Donald Trump, who is has stock in Energy Transfer Partners and has signaled support for the pipeline, prepares to take office early next year.
The Dakota Access pipeline would transport up to 550,000 barrels of oil a day from western North Dakota to a terminal in Illinois.