Local pipeline opponents stand with Standing Rock

  • From left: Erik Burcroff of Plainfield, Sandra Boston of Greenfield and Jed Stamas of Northampton protest against the Standing Rock pipeline Tuesday in Greenfield. RECORDER PHOTO/DIANE BRONCACCIO—

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/21/2017 11:40:33 PM

GREENFIELD — Carrying signs that read: “Boycott TD Bank. Support Standing Rock,” about nine people gathered on the corners of Main and Federal streets Tuesday at noon to “stand with the Native Americans at Standing Rock,” as Erik Burcroff, a Plainfield resident and one of the protesters, put it.

“The Native Americans believe that if the environmental study (ordered by the Barack Obama administration) had been done, it would have proven it was unsafe to put the pipeline right under their drinking water,” Burcroff said.

He was referring to a proposed segment of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that Native Americans and other environmentalists have resisted through occupation of the land in question for months. They thought they were winning the battle with Obama’s order, but their fortunes were reversed under President Donald Trump, who canceled the demand for the environmental study by executive order.

Sandra Boston of Greenfield said the signs urge people to boycott TD Bank because it is one of 17 banks with “huge investments” in the pipeline. She said the boycott is urged “in order to get TD Bank to see it’s losing support for fossil fuel infrastructure. It’s also about honoring the treaty and a Native American rights issue.”

Bill Kilpatrick of Northfield said protesting the pipeline on Greenfield’s streets was a “walk in the park” compared to what protesters are facing in North Dakota.

Today is the federal deadline for Standing Rock pipeline protesters to evacuate the site.

Boston said Tuesday’s demonstration in Greenfield was organized by the Sugar Shack Alliance, which is also preparing to oppose the Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Co. pipeline that is to run through the Otis State Forest. The local demonstrators are many of the same people who became energized opposing the now-canceled Kinder Morgan proposed pipeline through Franklin County.

Boston said the protests will continue twice a week, noon to 1 p.m., on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Energy Transfer Partners of Texas got federal permission to lay a pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. That’s the last big section of the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

The tribes say the pipeline would endanger their cultural sites and water supply and have added a religious freedom component, arguing that clean water is necessary to practice the Sioux religion.

Energy Transfer Partners maintains that the pipeline is safe and disputes that cultural sites have been affected. But an encampment near the construction in southern North Dakota drew thousands of protesters last year in support of the tribes, leading to occasional clashes with law enforcement and more than 700 arrests.

The camp has thinned to fewer than 300 people.


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