A state judge is refusing to throw out a complaint that a North Carolina-based private security firm operated illegally in North Dakota during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Judge John Grinsteiner also is declining for now to restrict evidence during TigerSwan’s upcoming civil trial or to dismiss company founder and President James Reese as a defendant. He ruled there are enough questions about the company’s actions and that Reese “is legally accountable for conduct performed by TigerSwan.”
North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board sued TigerSwan and Reese last June, alleging the company operated without a license in the state. The board seeks to ban TigerSwan from North Dakota and also could seek thousands of dollars in fines and fees.
Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners hired TigerSwan, which was founded by retired military special forces members. TigerSwan maintains it provided consulting services that don’t require a North Dakota license, and that any investigative work occurred at the company’s headquarters in North Carolina and would not be subject to regulation by North Dakota’s licensing board.
TigerSwan attorney Lynn Boughey asked Grinsteiner to bar any evidence about TigerSwan activities conducted outside of North Dakota.
The board objected to the request and disputed TigerSwan’s description of the company’s work. Board attorney Monte Rogneby also argued that TigerSwan tried to circumvent Louisiana’s denial of a license in that state last summer by creating a shell corporation through an employee, which he said is further evidence of why the company shouldn’t be allowed to operate in North Dakota “to protect the public interest,”
Another spill. Pipeline spills hundreds of gallons of diesel in Craig County: https://t.co/Fdyw20wzWO
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) April 27, 2018
Indigenous leaders, conservation organizations, and community groups are calling for an all-party investigation into the federal approval for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project after revelations this week that insiders rigged the federal approval process.
Whistleblowers in the federal government revealed that they were pressured “to give cabinet a legally-sound basis to say ‘yes’” to the pipeline and tanker proposal,” one month before the pipeline was actually approved.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, “We are absolutely shocked and outraged to learn that the legally required consultation process for the destructive Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion may have been disingenuous. Even though consultation and accommodation is a red herring in the era of consent, it exists as a minimum legal standard that the government is required to carry out. We expect a full and independent investigation immediately.”
Seven First Nations are awaiting court decisions which could overturn the approval due to improper consultation. These revelations appear to confirm concerns at the time that the federal government had already made up its mind.
“The serious allegations in this reporting, if true, means the Kinder Morgan review process was a rigged game from the very beginning,” said Mike Hudema, Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. “We need an investigation to look into the claims, to determine whether Indigenous leaders and people across the country were lied to, and whether the only answer the federal government would hear for this destructive project was the one Kinder Morgan demanded.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LCDC Statement on Tree-Sit Pipeline Protests, MVP, & ACP
Natural gas is neither safe nor clean. The ACP & MVP present unacceptable risks to water quality, unacceptable contribution to climate change in the form of greenhouse gas emissions pic.twitter.com/bqgNy3phtL
— Loudoun Democrats (@LoudounDems) April 27, 2018
A pipeline protester sitting high above the ground in a so-called monopod says she’s maintaining her position despite not having access to more supplies.
A woman calling herself” Nutty” hasn’t come down in 31 days and hasn’t received any supplies from friends and family members for more than three weeks as she protests the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
She’s lasted through freezing temperatures and severe weather.
Forest Service workers blocked off the area around her with yellow police tape, telling supporters they can’t enter because it falls within 125 feet of a service road for pipeline workers.
The protesters’ battle with pipeline workers and security and local, state and national law enforcement members is just one of many in the project’s path.
Supporters said members of law enforcement and MVP security members have been keeping watch with semi-automatic rifles.
“I find a lot of the tactics that they’re using to be very militarized. I’m not OK with that,” supporter Trish McLawhorne said. “What I believe is happening here is infringing upon First Amendment rights to protest.
Yesterday, the Husky refinery across the bay from my home exploded. Today, water protectors face court for standing up to #StopLine3 tar sands pipeline. Court might be cancelled due to evacuation. Prayers for those hurt, for families forever changed. pic.twitter.com/ejsGKNy3kz
— tara houska (@zhaabowekwe) April 27, 2018
— João (@JoaoGwadloup) April 28, 2018
You can find Red by the campfire smoke and bright yellow crime-scene tape.
Red is a 61-year-old Virginia mountain woman who since April 2 has been living in a tree inside the white-and-blue-taped corridor marked out for the interstate Mountain Valley Pipeline. She and her 30-year-old daughter Minor, who is stationed in another tree not far away, are defending their land against what they see as a looming environmental catastrophe.
To get to Red’s tree sit, you’ve got to cross wooden boards that cross Bottom Creek numerous times. Water flows all around you, supporting wetland vegetation like skunk cabbage across the property, where the Terry family has lived for seven generations.
A judge ruled on Jan. 31, however, that the company may use eminent domain to take land along the pipeline’s 303-mile route from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. After Red took to the trees, Roanoke County blocked supporters from giving her supplies, and it provided law enforcement officers to supplement MVP’s security guards. The first person I saw at the camp, in fact, was a camouflage-clad guard whose path through the woods helped me figure out where the bridges were.
On the morning I visited, at the end of her third week amid the treetops, Red was trying to warm up from below-freezing temperatures the night before. She was a little grumpy after running out of cigarettes, but was as fiery as her nickname suggests.
“MVP has not only bought a lot of politicians and our judge, but also our police force,” Red said. “MVP is allowed to tell our cops what to do and what not to do. I don’t think a cop who was allowed to think on their own would have denied me the cigarettes that are down there, and my BC Powders [for headaches] are down there. They’re not allowed to bring me anything up here. I think that it sounds a lot like Hitler and his army, only let’s substitute MVP. MVD is what I like to call them—Mountain Valley Dicks—because they are really screwing with everybody’s property, everybody’s faith, everybody’s water.”
GOP Tax Law Bails Out Fracking Companies Buried in Debt(corporations that have raked in billions & pay almost No Tax) https://t.co/2gbFGNyl1l
— Thomas Steeg (@SteegVan) April 27, 2018
— Lindsay Day (@_LJDay) April 28, 2018
) Red Terry has had a bird’s-eye-view of Bottom Creek and the Mountain Valley Pipeline right-of- way for over three weeks.
Along with friends who have set up camp near the base of her tree stand, daily visitors have made the trip to Bent Mountain to deliver moral support to the pipeline opponent.
Frank Munley lives in Salem.
“And we have to look at what Red is doing as an example, just like the civil rights workers in the 60s, and the anti-war people during the Vietnam war,” Munley told WDBJ7. “Yes, this is the kind of thing society needs.”
This week, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine said he also has serious concerns about the natural gas pipeline project.
He said he believes the federal approval process has serious flaws, and he’s calling for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipeline applications.
And while he wasn’t encouraging anyone to defy a court order, he said the protests should come as no surprise.
“And so sadly, I think this was predictable that you’re going to have some significant concern about a decision when people question its legitimacy,” Kaine told reporters during a teleconference Wednesday. “And that’s why the FERC process needs to be reformed.”
State Senator Andy Dinniman is trying to halt construction on two natural gas liquids pipelines, in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, alleging they pose a serious threat to public health and safety.
Dinniman filed a formal complaint and petition for emergency relief Thursday with the state Public Utility Commission. At issue is Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East pipeline project, which has been plagued with technical, legal, and environmental problems. It includes three parallel natural gas liquids lines — the Mariner East 1, the Mariner East 2, and the Mariner East 2X.
The PUC suspended service on the Mariner East 1 line earlier this spring, citing safety concerns related to sinkholes, and saying that a pipeline leak could have a “catastrophic” effect on public safety.
Dinniman’s complaint and petition relate to the second two lines — the Mariner East 2 and 2X.
“I have a moral, ethical, and constitutional duty to stand for the safety of the people of Chester County and the protection of their children and families, as well our environment, drinking water, natural resources, and public infrastructure,” said Dinniman, a Chester County Democrat. “I am asking the PUC to consider all of that – the numerous drilling problems, the risks to safety, the proximity to homes and schools, and the unique and problematic geology of the region – in concluding that these pipelines should not be built here period.”