Water Protector sentenced to 8 years in Federal Prison for actions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Cross-posted from Free Jessica 

For Immediate Release Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Water Protector sentenced to 8 years in Federal Prison for actions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: freejessicareznicek@gmail.com

Des Moines, IA –On Wednesday Federal Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger sentenced Jessica Reznicek to 8 years in prison, followed by 3 years supervised probation, and a restitution of $3,198,512.70 paid to Energy Transfer LLC for the actions she took in 2016 to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I am saddened to be preparing for prison following today’s sentencing hearing. My spirit remains strong, however, as I feel held in love, support and prayer by so many near and far. Regardless of my sentence I am hopeful that movements to protect the water live on in the struggles against Line 3 and the Mountain Valley Pipelines. ” Jessica Reznicek

The judge sided with the Federal prosecutors and applied a domestic terrorism enhancement to Jessica’s case. The enhancement originated in the Bush era Patriot Act, which expanded the definition of terrorism to cover “domestic,” as opposed to international, terrorism. The prosecutor requested the enhancement claiming that Jessica’s acts of resistance were “violent”, “dangerous”, and sought to “intimidate the government”. The judge decided that this argument provided enough evidence to substantiate the enhancement, saying it was necessary to discourage others from taking similar actions.

The enhancement increases Jessica’s sentence, but also has far reaching implications for broader social justice movements. This use of this enhancement interprets non-violent actions that challenge corporate profit as acts of terror against the government.

On today’s decision one of Jessica’s attorneys Bill Quigley stated, “Unfortunately, actions to protect our human right to water were found to be less important than the profit and property of corporations which are destroying our lands and waters. For a country which was founded by the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party this is extremely disappointing. But the community of resistance will no doubt carry on. And history will judge if Jessica Reznicek is a criminal or a prophet. Many of us are betting she’s a prophet.”

In her statement to the court Jessica highlighted how the water system for her hometown of Des Moines is on the verge of collapse. The city water department has admitted that both the Des Moines and Racoon rivers are so polluted and low that in the upcoming weeks they might not be able to continue to use them to supply the capital with drinking water. Meanwhile “victim” in this case Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiaries are responsible for 313 reported spills since 2012 on liquid lines, 35 caused water contamination. In the last 5 years the company had more accidents harming people or the environment than any other operator.

Jessica will remain on house arrest until she has to self-report for her sentence and plans to file an appeal within the 14 day window allowed by the court.

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#FreeJessica #WaterIsLife #NoDAPL

Water Protectors Flow Over Enbridge Line 3 Worksite, Native Matriarch Locks Down, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Risks Arrest

pic via Giniw Collective

cross-posted from the Giniw Collective

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2021
Contact: giniw@protonmail.com
Water Protectors Flow Over Enbridge Line 3 Worksite, Native Matriarch Locks Down, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Risks Arrest
(Park Rapids, MN) Today, dozens of water protectors flowed over a Line 3 construction site while one Native matriarch locked to heavy equipment and the executive director of Rainforest Action Nework risked arrest, halting construction. The action comes as Enbridge has begun drilling over 20 rivers and 800 wetlands in Anishinaabe treaty territory.
Sheriffs in Hubbard County continue to blockade Giniw Collective’s Native-led resistance camp from accessing their own land by stating they cannot return by vehicle once they leave home.
A dozen people were arrested in their driveway on Monday night; Hubbard County police sent a riot line. Police continue to barricade Namewag, the Native-led encampment who owns the land, into their property. One water protector was pulled over this morning by Hubbard County as they left camp, the sheriff claimed they “violated the easement”. Governor Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan remain silent about the ongoing gross abuse of power by the Hubbard County Sheriff.

pic via Giniw Collective

Actions continue against Line 3, which has yet to receive any comment from the White House. While the federal and state administrations pledge action on violence against Native women, there are nearly 5000 employees in northern Minnesota building Line 3, most of whom are from out of state. A second sex trafficking ring that included Enbridge employees was busted on Monday.

Mama Julz, Oglala Lakota, founder of Mothers against Meth said, “We’re not going to stop this pipeline by prayer only. Prayer and action go hand in hand!”
Ginger Cassidy, Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network said, “This pipeline is a violent assault on Indigenous People and their treaty rights and a climate catastrophe that threatens all of us. Climate chaos is already causing real world suffering and massive new fossil fuel expansion like this is completely reckless. Biden and the Banks financing this project must withdraw support for Line 3 immediately.”
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Giniw Collective is an Indigenous-women, 2-Spirit led frontline resistance to protect our Mother, defend the sacred and live in balance. We stand unafraid. Prayers into action. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @GiniwCollective

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The fight to stop Line 3 is heating up in Minnesota. Hundreds of activists have put themselves in harm’s way to make sure this dirty and dangerous pipeline doesn’t continue to get built. More and more people are going to the Indigenous-led frontlines to stand against the pipeline. Actions are happening every day.

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Line 3 is a proposed pipeline to bring nearly a million barrels of toxic tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin — through sacred wild rice beds, and the headwaters of the Mississippi. Grassroots resistance to the Line 3 pipeline has resulted in hundreds of actions across the country and the world. Join the movement with us!

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“Old Folks” Blockade Blocks Access to Mountain Valley Pipeline work

Cross-posted from Appalachians Against Pipelines

The old folks have been blocking access to a Mountain Valley Pipeline easement and work yard for 3.5 hours and counting! Cops and pipeline security are on the scene. Nearly 20 people have gathered on site to show their support.

Pipeline fighter Deborah Kushner is a 66-year-old retired mental health worker and resident of central Virginia. Regarding her action today, she stated “My presence here today is just a small gesture of dissent. It’s what I can do to delay – even for a few hours – the march towards assured oblivion. […] My action today is very much out of my comfort zone. I’m compelled to act because we are out of time. Protecting the health and safety of our water, air and land is critical because our laws, regulatory agencies and courts don’t protect it. They don’t protect us from renegade, profiteering industries destroying the planet. […] My stand today is for a future in which we all can thrive.”

Early this morning, Kushner locked herself to the trunk of a broken down car blocking access to a Mountain Valley Pipeline easement, two access roads and a work yard in Bent Mountain, Virginia. Kushner sits in a rocking chair on the trunk of the car next to slogans “Water is Life” and “Land Back” and under an umbrella that reads “Respect existence or expect resistance.”

Last week, activists from several climate action groups participated in a “Walk For Our Grandchildren,” speaking out against the fossil fuel industry and demanding bold climate action (read more: https://baytobaynews.com/stories/protesters-detained-during-climate-rally-in-wilmington,51877). Kushner cheered on these kindred old folks — from our rocking chairs to theirs — taking action for future generations!

Kusher’s full statement reads: “I remember exactly where I was in 2014 when I read the nightmarish news that construction was being planned for 23 pipelines in the Appalachian basin. A few months later the excellent environmental investigative group Public Herald toured with their documentary, ‘Triple Divide,’ warning that Virginia would be caught in the cross-hairs of pipeline development because of its location between the WV/PA shale oil fields and the coast. Up until then, I thought the closest fracking wells were in the Dakotas. A few months after this rude awakening, both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) were announced. My community was extremely lucky – after 6 years of fighting Dominion/Duke Power’s ACP, that pipeline was canceled.

“The death and devastation machine that is the MVP lives on, destroying land, air, water, wildlife, entire ecosystems, families, livelihoods, and communities. We’ve known for a long time the ‘need’ for pipelines is fictitious: the market for gas is flat and falling, and stock prices for EQT (MVP’s dastardly parent) continue to slide, but the death and devastation continues. MVP doesn’t have all its permits and has a horrid history of worker safety, but is hellbent on violating the land by blasting and clear-cutting so that they can gain their precious 14% return on equity. It’s all about the money — and, of course, about power. Eminent domain is just the latest iteration in a long history of nefarious ways to steal land.

“My presence here today is just a small gesture of dissent. It’s what I can do to delay – even for a few hours – the march towards assured oblivion. I believe in Right Action. With each act of protection the tide WILL turn, because our precious planet is resilient and seeks equilibrium. We are tasked with protecting the beauty and bounty of this world so that it can thrive, as will we if we do our part. Corporations have no soul. They only chase profit. They can have no place at the table in deciding our common future.

“The horrors that have been unleashed by extractive industry and fossil fuel use have brought us to this precipice. If we do nothing, our future holds certain disaster. So it’s incumbent on all of us to turn this monster around, and quickly. Yes, it will be inconvenient. Those of us living cozy, resource-heavy lifestyles will need to make sacrifices. Please take time to ponder this: what will you sacrifice so that the next generations can just survive, much less flourish?

“Each of us can do something for a better future: write that letter or email to the powers-that-be. Make a phone call to voice your opinion. Help plant a community garden and meet your neighbors. Turn half your lawn back to native plants for the pollinators and animals. Convince a church or other big-lawn institution to plant native flora, oak trees and community gardens. Stop using chemicals. Drive less. Share. Eat what’s in season. Bank with a credit union instead of a Big Bank. Buy less. Avoid Amazon and Big Box stores. All of these actions will help un-hook you from fossil fuel consumption and build more resilient communities. Be a model to help others see that our current lifestyles are largely unsustainable. How will you stand for necessary change, and what will you sacrifice? If my presence today delays this environmental nightmare for just a few hours, my action will have been successful. If my image as an elder person gives another senior impetus to act, my presence will have been worthwhile. We retired seniors can most easily afford to take some time out of our lives so that we can try to leave our juniors a more livable planet.

“I am not a paid protester. I am an introvert who loves quiet places. I feel most at home observing the natural world’s wonders. From the elegant mechanisms in a single cell to the majesty of a mountain range, nature is the best teacher, art and entertainment. Although I grew up in a large city, I dreamed of living deep in the woods and was fortunate enough to enjoy that luxury. But one can never live deep enough in the woods to get away from greed, irreverence and exploitation.

“I retired from a career helping people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses gain skills so they could live independently. That work was very much like wildlife rehabilitation, which was also some of the most gratifying work I’ve done. Nurturing another life until graduation day, when it leaves to live on its own is tremendously rewarding. This kind of work offers lessons for everyone. Even an orphaned, tiny, eyes-closed creature knows not to foul its own home. Baby birds poop over the side of their nests. Groundhogs have specific latrine areas in their tunnels. Our innate intelligence should tell us that sediment-choked streams, aquifers poisoned by injection well chemicals and buried time bombs of explosive gas don’t equate with a future.

“My action today is very much out of my comfort zone. I’m compelled to act because we are out of time. Protecting the health and safety of our water, air and land is critical because our laws, regulatory agencies and courts don’t protect it. They don’t protect us from renegade, profiteering industries destroying the planet. When laws don’t serve the planet and a viable future, the laws are complicit in environmental devastation.

“Lest you think the folks along the ACP path are off the hook now that that pipeline is dead, gold mining is threatening air, land, water and health along the gold/pyrite belt that spans from Fairfax to Halifax. Gargantuan open pit mines, cyanide waste lagoons and immense de-watering operations that will drain aquifers are promised (https://www.friendsofbuckinghamva.org/friends/ban-gold-mining/). Yes, they will keep coming for any particle of profit that can be gleaned from our natural landscape.

“The stunning beauty of Appalachia’s wild areas has evolved over millennia. The ancient mountains, pristine streams, rich wildlife and flora are incomparable. Pipelines and extractive industries have no place here, or anywhere, if we are to have a future. Current laws and courts favor commerce, not people and the common resources that are vital for life. My stand today is for a future in which we all can thrive.

“It takes a big village to stop pipelines! If you are able, please donate to AAP’s resistance fund http:// bit.ly/SupportMVPResistance for bail and legal fees so that more people are able to step up and actively resist this monster. For every person on the front line, it takes legions of support bodies and minds. It’s imperative that we all do something, whether it’s donating funds, getting in the way of the pipelines, taking care of the pets back home while someone’s locked up, writing letters to Acre, and any other large or small way we wage this fight for our future!

“My choice to get in the way of this pipeline is evidence of my extremely entitled position. It’s my choice, and I am fairly certain of my fate and consequences. No one is dependent on me for their care, existence or transportation, and I won’t suffer stigma or lost employment opportunities because of my choice. Legions of others don’t have these luxuries. Please consider contributing to a bail fund to help those who are being held in jail simply for not having the funds to get out. This group is local to me and is doing excellent work: https://blueridgebailfund.org/. You can also google to find a similar fund near you.”

#NoMVP #NoPipelines