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Lakota Activists Block Canadian Oil Trucks at Wanblee

Last updated on 2012.03.07

The Lakota blogosphere lit up yesterday with a curious call to action yesterday. Brenda Norrell of Censored News reports that activists on the Pine Ridge reservation formed a blockade near Wanblee to stop two trucks carrying equipment for the Keystone XL pipeline. Around 6 p.m. Monday, KILI Radio issued this notice on its Facebook page:

Calling all Lakota men on the Pine Ridge Reservation to come to Wanblee SD. XL Pipeline trucks are being held there at the border by our Lakota Oyate, OST Police and State Troopers* in an effort to keep them from entering our territory. Even the state troopers told the trucks they have to turn around and cannot bring their ... pipeline or other materials on to our reservation. The XL Pipeline trucks are refusing to turn around claiming they have corporate rights that supersedes any other law [KILI Radio, Facebook notice, Pine Ridge, SD, 2012.03.05].

Well-known Keystone XL opponent Debra White Plume says she initiated the blockade at 10 a.m. yesterday after hearing that two trucks labeled "Calgary, Alberta, Canada" were coming through the Pine Ride Reservation. According to Norrell, White Plume and four others eere arrested for disorderly conduct, hauled away to jail in Kyle, then shortly released. Debra White Plume offered this statement:

We formed a blockade to stop tarsands oil mine equipment from passing our lands. The truckers told us the corporation office from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the State of South Dakota made a deal to save the truckers $50,000 per truck. There were two trucks, from having to pay $100,000 [Debra White Plume, quoted by Brenda Norrell, "Lakota Arrests Underway Halting XL Pipeline Trucks," Censored News, 2012.03.05].

The photos available do not clearly show the labels, licenses, or equipment on these trucks. It is also unclear how the state could issue any deal that would save a company $50,000 per truck on transportation permit fees. State trucking regulations establish a variety of $25 and $60 fees for oversize truck permits. If the Canadian company running these trucks did get any sort of break on its normal oversize permits, it probably lost that amount on extra time for the truckers just from taking the back route across the reservation, not to mention the unexpected overtime created by their detention near Wanblee.

Update 2012.03.06 06:48 MST: A Pierre official confirms that South Dakota Highway Patrol officers were at the Wanblee blockade. However, the troopers were not helping to detain the Totran trucks; the troopers were there to protect the truckers and prevent trouble.


  1. Jeremy Fugleberg 2012.03.06

    Highly doubt these are bound for the tar sands and I would say definitely no KXL link. One report claims the trucks are hauling water tanks, but those to me look like mega-sized heater-treaters, used in oilfields to separate water and natural gas from produced oil.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.06

    Ah, Totran Transportation Services! That's a new photo. Totran's website is wiped out, but this trucking site says they have 12 trucks.

  3. D.E. Bishop 2012.03.06

    Does anyone wonder what kind of kickbacks DD and the boys are getting from all the mega-breaks they are giving to KXL, have given away in the past, and will give away in the future? Just curious.

    (It's the same kind of curiosity I have about DD & the boys in relationship to ALEC and passing laws that SDans revile. [HB1234])

  4. alan 2012.03.06

    wow how big was the fine they had to pay??? 100,000

  5. Jim 2012.03.07

    Cory-for a more detailed description of this company, or any trucking company, go to, then under FMCSA Searches click company snapshot, enter the company name, then scroll down.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.03.07

    Jim! Good link! The feds' data says the Houston branch has 10 power units (trucks, I assume), while the Calgary branch has 34. Four two-away crashes total over the last 24 months in over five million miles of service (I'm looking at the total 2.5M mmiles per year listed).

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