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.