Since the election, 350 Mass website sign-ups have roughly quadrupled and node meetings have been flooded with new and returning members. Many of us have seen family and friends feeling a newfound urgency to fight for a just and livable world.
If you're new to 350 Mass, this is the perfect moment to get involved. Start by filling out this form (whether you're a new or long-time member!) to update your contact information and share how you are moved to take action. We'll be in touch soon, but in the meantime, please check out our calendar of events -- we'd love to see you at an upcoming node meeting or action.
Most of us have never experienced such a terrifying contrast between our president’s vision for this country and our own. Our local and statewide efforts now take on renewed importance. Over the coming years, we’ll push for stronger action on climate in our state and in our communities. We’ll do everything we can to provide support and stand in solidarity with those threatened by the political reality we face. And we'll work alongside all who share our values to mobilize the millions outraged by Trump to build the kind of political power we need to shape this country's destiny. How? By organizing more boldly and joyfully and beautifully than ever.
In recent weeks, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have reached national news, provoking comparisons to the widespread publicity around the Keystone XL pipeline. The tribe, however, has been protesting (or, in their preferred term, “protecting”) since 2014. The tribe filed a lawsuit on July 27, 2016 against the U.S. Army Corps and Dakota Access, LLC, claiming that the proposed Dakota Access pipeline threatens their reservation’s only water source and ancient sacred sites. Some of these sites have already been destroyed, and peaceful protesters have been met with force by security guards armed with mace and dogs. The judge involved in the case has also rejected a temporary injunction, which would have halted construction until the case was resolved.
Fortunately for the community at Standing Rock, three departments of the federal government released a statement today announcing a halt to all construction under and around Lake Oahe. The Justice Department, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior cited a need to determine whether the previous decision of the U.S. Army Corps to grant the pipeline construction request is in compliance with all federal laws; they also highlighted a need for government-to-government consultations to be held this fall in an effort to improve communication between tribes and the U.S. government around construction near sacred sites.
People across the country have been mobilizing in response to the protests and the violence which the tribe’s water protectors have been met. There was an action in Cambridge this past Thursday, for instance. A series of additional demonstrations are coming up in the Boston area over the next week:
- Tuesday, September 13, 8-10am outside of South Station (for more information: contact [email protected]).
- Saturday, September 17, 11 am- 3pm, Boston Common Park St T. This action will be calling on TD Bank to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline (see the facebook event page).
- If you’d like to organize an action near you, click here!
Donations of money and supplies are also being accepted by the water protectors (see this list of legal and financial ways to help).
As the case moves forward, remember that you can get involved in environmental justice work local to your area. It is important for non-Native protestors and accomplices to recognize that this is not only a climate issue, but a justice one. Indigenous people have faced resource extraction on their land for centuries, often without their permission or with any benefits provided to tribes. Seek out articles by indigenous writers on the Dakota Access Pipeline (such as this one). Read up on the history of relations between the U.S. government and tribes in your area. If you are a non-Native person organizing with indigenous groups, defer to native leadership and honor the struggle that has been going on for over 500 years.
On August 17, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the proposed pipeline tax, which we have been advocating against since it was first proposed during the Patrick administration, which we helped persuade over 2/3rds of the legislature to formally come out against and kept from being affirmed in the legislature, and which we just marched 43 miles to defeat, is illegal.
The pipeline tax is dead!
This tremendous victory is thanks to many people, from the Conservation Law Foundation, who helped lead the legal case against the tax, to our partners across the state (especially the Mass Power Forward coalition), to every one of you who took action and spoke out.
Our constant, large presence at DPU hearings, our lobbying, and most recently our march helped show deep public opposition to this tax. Judges are supposed to act as impartial arbiters of the law, but it certainly did not hurt our case for those judges to read, hear, or watch the many, many stories about our opposition to this project. Most importantly, our movement blocked the legislature from passing a law in favor of the pipeline tax. If we hadn't, this case would have been irrelevant.
It is unclear how much this will be a fatal blow to any of Spectra’s proposed projects, but we have absolutely undercut their financing (to the tune of $3 billion), called into question similar pipeline tax proposals in other states, and have given Spectra’s investors greater reason for pause. Either way, we have unambiguously won a victory and established a precedent that the people’s money should be not used for private projects that further commit us to climate catastrophe.
Thank you for all of you who came out to DPU hearings, who sat in on the SJC hearing, who lobbied your legislators against the pipeline tax, who marched one mile of the march, who drove a support vehicle, who donated food, who marched all forty-three miles. Our movement shares in this victory, and it is just as much yours as anyone else’s. Onward!