Civil rights activist and Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, is joining the effort to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline project south of Mandan.
The news of Jackson’s arrival comes hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a “no-fly” order above the contested land where protesters have gathered to block the pipeline crossing beneath the Missouri River, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The FAA issued the flight restriction late Tuesday, Oct. 25. It prohibits pilots from operating an aircraft in a 7-mile radius, including the camps set up by protesters, through Nov. 4.
A news release issued Wednesday, Oct. 26, said Jackson will join “tribes and protectors of sacred lands and water,” and meet with the press. He also is planning a tour of camps, where opponents have gathered to block the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile project, and the pipeline route. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe council is expected to join him at the Cannon Ball campsite.
“The tribes of this country have sacrificed a lot so that this great country could be built,” Jackson said in the release. “With promises broken, land stolen, and sacred lands desecrated, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is standing up for their right to clean water. They have lost land for settlers to farm, more land for gold in the Black Hills, and then again even more land for the damn (sic) that was built for flood control and hydro power.
“When will the taking stop? When we start treating the first peoples of this lands with the respect and honor they deserve?”
The decision to change the pipeline route from north of Bismarck to its current route is “the ripest case of environmental racism I’ve seen in a long time,” Jackson said. “Bismarck residents don’t want their water threatened, so why is it OK for North Dakota to react with guns and tanks when Native Americans ask for the same right?”
The pipeline is largely completed and will move 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude per day to a hub in Illinois.
Actor Mark Ruffalo participated in a panel discussion Tuesday night at Prairie Knights Casino on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
During a quick stop at the state Capitol in Bismarck, Ruffalo told Forum News Service the pipeline doesn’t need to cross the Missouri River, which provides drinking water to millions.
“There’s another route this could take,” he said, adding, “What they’re doing is they’re putting money above the health of a whole group of people.”
The actor-director, activist and co-founder of The Solutions Project, which promotes clean and renewable energy, planned to deliver solar trailers Wednesday to the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the main protest camp situated on Corps land just north of the reservation. More than 300 tribes have been represented at the camp, which currently supports an estimated 1,200 people.