Climate disobedience

Empty the oil pipeline. Fill up with E85.


Filling up at a rural Iowa corn to fuel station. The car gets about 15,000 miles/acre

How, might you ask, would this stop the line? This morning on facebook I saw this. Note the section about low oil prices and financial collapse.

Here’s the deal on Dakota Access.

DAPL had to get permits from county, state and federal governments. They are still missing two permits. The first is the 408 permit on the Missouri River that the Obama administration has blocked for the time being. The other permit is the hydrostatic testing permit to test the whole pipeline using water from various water bodies across the length of the pipeline.

DAPL told the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) that they wouldn’t begin construction until they had all the permits. The IUB granted the permit on a dark day this spring. At that time, DAPL still was missing the Army Corps of Engineers permits to cross the rivers and waterways. They began construction anyway. The IUB tsk tsked and then gave them approval to begin construction at their own risk.

They still don’t have all their permits but the pipeline has almost been completely built. There are only a few stretches that have not been finished–sections in Iowa and the small reach across the Missouri River in North Dakota.

What that means is that we have a nearly complete 1,000 mile pipeline. Even if the Missouri River permit is denied, the rest of the pipeline stands ready to ship crude oil across the Heartland.

There are a few things standing in the way of oil actually flowing through it. The first is those two pesky permits. Second is several lawsuits, two by the Tribes, a third by landowners and environmentalists in Iowa. Another block to this pipeline’s completion is the finances of DAPL which could collapse given the delay and low oil prices. Finally, the emergent properties of such a fluid situation could lead to a surprising avenue that stops this cold. We simply do not know which action, or friendship or strategy could tip the scales. As yesterday’s events show clearly, you just never know what might happen.

Because they continue to do construction in Iowa, we will not rest until we have done everything we can to stop this travesty. It is our sacred obligation to future generations.

The Natives at Standing Rock have the legal and the ethical arguments. But what most people miss is that Iowa is economically hostile territory for oil. We make far more money on corn, and the corn harvest starts in a few weeks. In the next two months, Iowa farmers will be harvesting $15 billion dollars of corn from $200 billion dollars of the world’s best farmland. If politics really is all about the money, who do you thinks going to win, a $4billion pipeline, or $200billion of family-owned farms? The value of those farms will go up by at least $4 billion if we let the oil companies bankrupt themselves on a pipeline that will never flow petroleum.

Oil is done, and in a few months the farmers in Iowa are going to demonstrate this new economic reality to the rest of the world. We need your help. If you have a flex fuel car, fill up with E85. If you don’t, put 2 gallons of E85 in, and 6 gallons of regular petroleum. The car will work just fine on 30% ethanol.

If you want more information, ask my about my 2001 prius (pictured above) that has been running on 30-50% ethanol for the last 10 acres (or 150,000 miles). And remember, if you want to make good on the Minneapolis climate action plan, make sure you vote for the farmer.

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