There are two Missoula demonstrations supporting the water protectors at Standing Rock. There’s a “pop up demonstration” today at noon at Caras Park and a second informational potluck and march this Saturday, 4 p.m., February 11, which begins at Free Cycles, 732 South First Street. Speakers at both will fill us in on some dramatic developments in the last few days.

The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have been enduring a hard winter upriver from tribal lands, at a controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) crossing. So far, demonstrators have blocked the crossing. In recent days, questions have arisen about an executive order issued by the new President. The Obama Administration had told the Army it had to do a full environmental impact statement (EIS) on the pipeliine and the river crossing, which delayed the project.

Well, it looks like we have some answers. The Army informed Congress yesterday that it would ignore the EIS and fulfill the executive order, which grants an easement to build the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe on the Missouri River. In addition, the pipeline company, Transcanada, filed a “Presidential Permit application” on January 26 to continue construction.

And we have clear opposition. A neighboring tribe, the Cheyenne River Tribe, “fully intends to fight DAPL until all legal avenues have been exhausted,” according to a press release sent by Harold C. Frazier, tribal chairman. Referring to Transcanada, Frazier says, “It is clear that the coyotes which have been hiding in the shadows are taking advantage of this full lunacy.” And, “While we are disappointed that the American government has failed us, we are holding on to the hope that the American people will not.”

At this point, without a restraining order from the courts, it looks like a confrontation is inevitable. We hope you can show your opposition to the pipeline and support for the demonstrators at Standing Rock at noon today and on Saturday.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana