On July 5 and 6, we saw our strategy on how to defeat pipelines affirmed. In those two days, three pipeline projects suffered heavy blows, and behind these events was our national movement led by both grassroots groups and national environmental organizations.
On July 5, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced they were cancelling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile, fracked-gas pipeline that would have crossed the Appalachian Trail. They threw in the towel because of delays and cost overruns caused by lawsuits, a recent court ruling in Montana, and most important, a grassroots effort of people fighting to save their lands and waters.
On July 6, the fossil fuel industry received a double whammy, putting the future of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in limbo. A federal judge ordered DAPL to be shut down and drained within 30 days while the government does a more intense environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project. Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that the KXL pipeline had to meet a rigorous environmental review process that a lower court had decreed.
In all three cases, huge “big tent” movements involving indigenous tribes and non-profits, rural ranchers and farmers, frontline urban communities, environmentalists, and more worked for years to educate and mobilize the public and elected and appointed officials to the many injustices and dangers that these projects entail. The Cowboy Indian Alliance — where ranchers and tribal members rode their horses down the Washington Mall — was one such movement. In April 2014, thousands marched behind members of the Cowboy Indian Alliance on horseback to urge President Obama to stop the KXL pipeline.
In a nutshell, our movement’s strategy is to educate, mobilize, litigate, and cut off funding to the fossil fuel industry. We use many different tactics to reach and educate people where they are. Speaking to whichever of the many reasons most appeals to them, we mobilize people to participate in creative and bold actions; at times we use lawyers to litigate in the courts; and we participate in campaigns such as Stop the Money Pipeline to drive investors away from fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Go to stopthemoneypipeline.com to learn more!
And it’s working! Here’s a quote from a press release by Dominion Energy on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline:
…This new information and litigation risk, among other continuing execution risks, make the project too uncertain to justify investing more shareholder capital. For example, a productive tree-felling season this winter is a key milestone to maintaining the project’s cost and schedule. Unfortunately, the inability to predict with confidence the outcome of the project’s permits and the potential for additional incremental delays associated with continued legal challenges, means that committing millions of dollars of additional investment for tree-felling and subsequent ramp up for full construction is no longer a prudent use of shareholder capital….
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a spate of pipeline victories for the people and the planet. We have a long way to go, but it’s a wonderful feeling to be in this struggle with all of you!