Activists defending indigenous and environmental rights in the US are celebrating three major wins in their long-running fight to stop pipelines funnelling oil and gas through sensitive tribal lands. On July 6, a judge ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline be shut down and emptied of oil, pending the outcome of an environmental review. That same day, the US Supreme Court upheld an order placing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on hold for further regulation and an extended permitting process. And Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have announced the cancellation of plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline between West Virginia and North Carolina. The companies say the high cost of fighting legal action swelled their costs, rendering the project unviable.
As energy firms struggle with depressed revenue amid a global coronavirus pandemic that has throttled demand for oil and gas, anti-pipeline activists seek to maximise their advantage. But they still face challenges, such as fighting other pipelines that can proceed under a fast-track permit process.
We’ll meet three indigenous and environmental rights activists in the vanguard of efforts to protect their lands from big energy.