September 12, 2018 was the day Iowa landowners and the Sierra Club’s oral arguments in the case against the Iowa Public Utilities Board (IUB) were heard before the Iowa Supreme Court. The landowners and Sierra Club contend that the Public Utilities Board improperly allowed Energy Transfer Partners to use eminent domain to force Iowa landowners to let the Dakota Access Pipeline be constructed on their land.
One of the main objectives of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March was to call attention to this court case. We had a large banner saying Stop Eminent Domain Abuse with us on the March. A similar sign was painted on our portable rest room/shower.
I didn’t enter the Court that day because I had my camera with me, and photos weren’t allowed inside. As my friends left the Court, they told me the justices seemed pretty well informed about the issues. The Court’s decision may not come for weeks or months. It is unclear what will happen if the Court decides for the landowners.
The other primary purpose of the March was to build a community of activists who began to know each other so we could work together. This court date was the first opportunity for that to happen, and I was very glad to see quite a few of my fellow Marchers at the Court this morning.
The decision several months later was against the landowners and for the pipeline.
Back at the Iowa Utilities Board
We’re back at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) these days, this time to object to proposed carbon pipelines.
Another pipeline and the courts
In a decisive victory for Native American rights, a federal judge just ordered an energy company to completely remove a natural gas pipeline.
Seventeen years after the expiration of an easement, a federal judge has ordered an energy company to completely remove its pipeline from the properties of 38 Native American landowners — none of whom have been compensated for the company’s use of their land since the year 2000.
Now, the pipeline company will have just six months to dismantle and completely remove the structure.
“Having carefully reviewed the parties’ submissions, and in light of the facts and circumstances in this case,” Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange wrote in the 10-page decision for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, “the court finds that a permanent injunction should be entered in this case. Specifically, it is plaintiffs’ interests in the exclusive possession of their land which has been invaded by the presence of the pipeline and defendants’ continued use of the pipeline.
I’m having trouble finding much more information beyond this article saying the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the permanent injunction of the case cited above.
While Enable Midstream Partners LP recently lost a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding its pipeline operation near Anadarko, the company will not be forced to rip up 1,300 feet of the pipeline.
It came out of the Tenth Circuit court this week in a case involving a group of tribal landowners who filed suit a few years ago and accused the company of trespassing.
The Tenth Circuit ruling this week stayed a permanent injunction handed down earlier by Oklahoma City U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in which the company had been ordered to remove the pipeline by May 5.
If you’ve been involved in any sort of activism, you know the frustration of the lack of participation by others.
One of my deepest frustrations has been related to the existential threat of environmental collapse. Fifty years ago, I moved to Indianapolis, and was horrified by the foul air, smog you could actually see, and barely breathe. I was led to live without owning a car from that point. And to try to get others to do whatever they could to stop the accelerating environmental devastation. Fifty years later, you can see where we are. In hindsight, we can imagine what might have happened if we had invested in mass transit back then.
Tomorrow is a chance to reject learned helplessness. Instead, you can show up at the Iowa Utilities Board at 8:30 am. to object to the construction of carbon (CO2) pipelines. (Details below)
My years in Indianapolis were blessed by connections with wonderful people and organizations fighting for climate justice. I moved to Iowa July 1, 2017, and wondered how I could build new relationships here. By researching using social media, I learn about the work of Ed Fallon and Bold Iowa. I learned of an event to be held at the Iowa State Capitol to petition for the removal Richard W. Lozier, Jr. from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) because of his conflicts of interest. This photo of that event illustrates what a small number of people show up.
Although Ed wasn’t there, Sikowis Nobiss did attend. I reminded her we met when she spoke at Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) a few months earlier. We have since worked on many projects together and I consider her a good friend of mine.
The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has been the site of a number of environmental protests because one of their functions is to approve pipeline projects.
Two people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline were arrested Wednesday in Des Moines after demanding a meeting at the Iowa Utilities Board.
Jessica Reznicek, who was arrested on a trespassing charge, had been fasting for 10 days with Travis O’Brennan, urging the board to revoke permits for construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Iowa.
In July, 2017, Ruby Montoya, then a 27-year-old former preschool teacher, and Jessica Reznicek, then a 35-year-old activist, were arrested for damaging the sign at the Iowa Utilities Board.
“Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken. We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property,” Montoya said. “What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampant across our country, seizing land and polluting our nation’s water supply. You may not agree with our tactics, but you can clearly see their necessity in light of the broken federal government and the corporations they represent.”
As a result of this admission, Montoya and Reznicek were indicted on nine felony charges of intentionally damaging energy infrastructure — a designation that can render a private, commercial company’s enterprise a matter of federal concern.
We were at the Iowa Utilities Board September 1, 2018, to start our sacred journey, the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March. A small group of us walked and camped along the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline, from our beginning here in Des Moines, to Fort Dodge, a distance of 94 miles, over eight days.
Regina Tsosie sings a song at the press conference at the Iowa Utilities Board regarding the improper use of eminent domain for the Dakota Access Pipeline. And the beginning of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March.
Tomorrow, July 12, we will again gather at the Iowa Utilities Board, this time to object to the construction of carbon (CO2) pipelines in Iowa.
Please join us July 12th, 8:30 am at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) monthly board meeting. The board is preparing to handle permit requests for three hazardous carbon pipelines in Iowa.
There are many reasons why carbon pipelines should not be built, including:
these are unproven processes
even though the main argument for carbon pipelines is removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some of the captured carbon is actually used for more oil fracking
the abuse of eminent domain
and significant, long-term impacts on farmland.
In addition, these are hazardous material pipelines
When a carbon pipeline explodes, huge amounts of carbon dioxide escape into the air, replacing oxygen, and potentially killing people and animals. Such an explosion and some of those consequences actually happened in Satartia, Mississippi. See: CO2 Pipeline Dangers.
Join the Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition for a rally at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) monthly board meeting. We won’t stand by as corporations endanger our land, our communities, and our climate by abusing eminent domain. CO2 pipelines pose a multitude of threats to all Iowans. From destroying farmland to the threat of asphyxiation if a pipeline leaks, Iowans are carrying all the risks, while Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry make off with the reward.
As the Iowa Utilities Board prepares to handle permit requests for three hazardous carbon pipelines, it’s crucial that they know 80% of Iowans oppose using eminent domain for carbon pipelines. It’s time Iowa’s decision-makers learn that we will not accept greedy corporate interests being put before their needs.
Let’s show the Iowa Utilities Board how powerful we are when we stand together!
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is not the answer to the climate emergency. CCS is unproven, dangerous and delays real solutions to the climate crisis such as energy conservation, regenerative agriculture and renewable energy. https://www.facebook.com/NoCCSIowa
Buffalo Rebellion is a coalition of Iowa grassroots organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice!
Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI https://www.facebook.com/IowaBuffaloRebellion
The Sunrise Movement was launched as a national campaign for a Green New Deal (GND) in 2017. From the beginning I heard my native friends talk about the importance of a GND to be Indigenous led. In 2019 Sunrise’s Green New Deal tour began with a stop in Des Moines. There my friends Trisha Cax-Sep-Gu-Wiga Etringer and Lakasha Yooxot Likipt spoke about Indigenous leadership as a requirement for a GND. https://landbackfriends.com/2021/09/01/indigenous-led-green-new-deal/
Last weekend’s Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion provided an opportunity for organizations and people to come together to share what is being done to address the climate crisis. And lay the groundwork for working together, focusing on action related to the racial and economic consequences of environmental devastation. That requires taking on entrenched white supremacy, systemic racism and rapacious capitalism.
… what if the question all water protectors and land defenders asked was, why don’t we just overturn the system that makes development a threat in the first place? This system, again, is capitalism. Rather than taking an explicitly conservationist approach, the Red Deal instead proposes a comprehensive, full-scale assault on capitalism, using Indigenous knowledge and tried-and-true methods of mass mobilization as its ammunition. In this way, it addresses what are commonly thought of as single issues like the protection of sacred sites—which often manifest in specific uprisings or insurrections—as structural in nature, which therefore require a structural (i.e., non-reformist reform) response that has the abolition of capitalism via revolution as its central goal. We must be straightforward about what is necessary. If we want to survive, there are no incremental or “non-disruptive” ways to reduce emissions. Reconciliation with the ruling classes is out of the question. Market-based solutions must be abandoned. We have until 2050 to reach net-zero carbon emissions. That’s it. Thirty years. The struggle for a carbon-free future can either lead to revolutionary transformation or much worse than what Marx and Engels imagined in 1848, when they forewarned that “the common ruin of the contending classes” was a likely scenario if the capitalist class was not overthrown. The common ruin of entire peoples, species, landscapes, grasslands, waterways, oceans, and forests—which has been well underway for centuries—has intensified more in the last three decades than in all of human existence.
The Red Nation, The Red Deal (pp. 21-22). Common Notions. Kindle Edition.
My Mutual Aid community models many Green/Red New Deal concepts.
I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.
So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”
Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid, Great Plains Action Society
I’m reflecting and praying about what happened this past weekend during the Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion, a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice.
Buffalo Rebellion is a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. The Earth Day Rally will be an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through sharing stories and visions for climate justice and taking action together for a world that puts people and the planet before profits for a few.
Following the Earth Day Rally, Buffalo Rebellion will be holding two days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement.
Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI.
Extremely thankful for this community we built this weekend. Looking forward to fighting for the future alongside all of you. Thank you to the organizers, and big love to the participants. Keep an eye out for Buffalo Rebellions next move.
How do you build a coalition? You bring together organizations and people who have demonstrated they are effective at building community and organizing for change. And who are aligned in their purpose.
My experience is there are a small number of people and organizations who shoulder justice work in a city or geographical area. Which means they are acquainted with each other. A given individual often belongs to multiple organizations.
But these groups often don’t work together. Building a coalition is how to remedy that. The organizations listed above are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. That is our common purpose. Rapidly evolving environmental chaos is an existential threat that requires radical action now.
Centering on racial and economic justice is crucial for many reasons. Blatant environmental racism is seen over and over again by the location of hazardous infrastructure in Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) communities. Conversely, solar panels are not often seen there.
There are many aspects of economic injustice as well. Those economically disadvantaged also tend to live in areas of environmental hazards. And supply the labor for jobs such as coal, oil, and tar sands mining, while white capitalists receive (steal) the profits.
Building a coalition requires us to know and trust each other. And to learn about each other’s work. Tools that we can bring to our organizations. Or know who has expertise we can turn to for help.
This past weekend of Buffalo Rebellion meetings and action went a long way in beginning to accomplish these goals. It was important to have the action of marching to the offices of MidAmerican Energy. Demonstrating how direct actions work.
The many excellent presentations shared the tools and knowledge of experts in our coalition. The following table of presentations gives an idea of what was done.
Community Building & Storytelling
Cedar Rapids Sunrise
End-Stage Iowa, Indigenous Land Stewardship & the Green (Red) New Deal
Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), Iowa Citizens Community Improvement (ICCI)
NoDAPL Reunion Panel
Fundamentals of Organizing (Starting an Issue Based Campaign and Fundraising 101)
DSM Black Liberation, ICCI, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Police, Prison, & Military Abolition for Climate Justice
DSM Black Liberation Movement
Lobbying: Get Your Local Green New Deal Passed into Law
Cedar Rapids Sunrise
Migration in Iowa and Big-Ag
Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice
Art and Activism
Say Poetry, DSM Black Liberation Movement
Frontline Tactical Methods to Protect the Land: From Direct Actions and Resistance Camps
Landscapes: The Kinship of Climate, Wildness, and Community
Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements
GPAS, DSM Mutual Aid
Linking the Origins of Iowa’s Contemporary Environmental Problems to the Extractive Nature of White Settlement
Ending White Supremacy in Climate Organizing
CPAS, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Launching the Movement: Strategic Applications of Drones for Grassroots Actions
Building Power with Public Narrative
Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Damn Lies and C02 pipelines
Science and Environmental Health Network
ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Urban Farming and Community Fridges
Sweet Tooth Farms
Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM Black Liberation Movement
For example, this is the presentation by my friend Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid and Great Plains Action Society.
Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements
– Ronnie James, DSM Mutual Aid & Great Plains Action Society
An introduction to the how and why of supporting frontliners that suffer arrest during Movement activities. Instruction will cover the reason for, creation of, and implementation of a Bail Fund. We will also touch on the main phases of the arrest and court process: Arrest, Pre-Trial, Trial, Post-Trial, Sentencing, and Incarceration, and some of the avenues of support the defendant will require during these phases. We will discuss the role of the Defense Committee, and how they compare and contrast with the Legal Defense Team. Finally, there will be a brief summary of how this works in Des Moines, Iowa in the present moment.
The goal of this weekend of immersive training was to develop grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement. I think that was accomplished.
As we chanted outside the building the security guard called the police. Several Des Moines police cars arrived, but then left when they saw we were peaceful and exercising our right of free speech. At least I assume that’s why they left. Then we returned to Cowles Commons.
I’m excited about attending this Earth Day Rally organized by the Buffalo Rebellion. And attending the immersive training Saturday and Sunday. The organizations that make up this coalition can be found below.
This Earth Day, millions of people are demanding that world leaders take the crises we’re facing seriously.
If you listen to Iowa Public Radio today, you’ll hear about Buffalo Rebellion, an exciting new coalition of Iowa organizations working to grow a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice.
This weekend, Buffalo Rebellion is holding two-days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community.
But first, we want to come together for an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through collective action.
WHAT: Honor Mother Earth Rally & Action! WHEN: Friday, April 22 from 12 pm – 4 pm 12 pm – we’ll gather for lunch with local food trucks at Cowles Commons, 1 pm – rally around stories and visions for climate justice, 1:45 pm – we’ll take action together for a world that puts people and the planet before corporate profit. WHERE: Cowles Commons, 221 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309 DETAILS TO KNOW: The event will happen rain or shine (forecast looking ok though)! Bring money for lunch (or bring your own) and parking (parking maps and info here). The action will consist of a <1 mile march. Family friendly, the action is youth-led. WHY: The latest IPCC report continues to make the path forward very clear: it’s either people and the planet or fossil fuels. It’s up to us to build power and push our leaders to action. For a brighter future,
We believe that we must address the root of climate change, insatiable corporate greed and white supremacy, to make change happen. This will require a multi-racial movement of working people struggling together to upend politics as usual.
“Iowa has been made into a sacrifice zone by government sanctioned Big-Ag corporations, which have a stranglehold on the climate and environmental legislation. Colonial-capitalist farming practices are poisoning our water, depleting the soil, and are a leading contributor to Iowa’s greenhouse emissions causing climate chaos.” – Sikowis Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux, Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society
Buffalo Rebellion was formed in November 2021 and consists of: Great Plains Action Society DSM Black Liberation Movement Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice Sierra Club Beyond Coal Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids SEIU Local 199 and Iowa CCI.
The coalition is part of the national Green New Deal Network.
If you’re interested in attending the training potion of the summit or have any other questions, please email us at IowaBuffaloRebellion@gmail.com.