Waco group joins in solidarity protest against Dakota Pipeline

Posted at 7:57 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-16 13:04:36-05

The Army Corps of Engineers released a statement saying they would not make a decision on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project (DAPL). They have delayed construction until they can further study the effects of the project and talk with Sioux tribes on the land.

Despite these developments, protesters across the country stood in solidarity with the protesters who have been occupying the land adjacent to Standing Rock, North Dakota, one of the sites construction will begin. 

In Central Texas, protesters with the Waco Friends of Peace and Climate, stood outside of the Department of Justice in Waco. Mary Jane Ybarra, moved from California to Waco. She said she has an affinity for nature and a passion for the environment. She stood shoulder to shoulder with protesters on Franklin Ave Tuesday night chanting, "Water is life. You can't drink oil."

Ybarra said she had seen what happens when communities, especially reservations go without water. In California, she said she witnessed friends at the Lone Pine reservation lose water access. So when she heard about the DAPL she wanted to get involved. 

"Fresh drinking water, that's livelihood," Ybarra said. 

She - along with the protesters in Waco and across the country say they're concerned the construction of a crude oil pipeline will cross sacred Sioux land and put the water supply at risk.

While she's hundreds of miles away from the site, she worries about the impact it will have. 

"Who knows what this is going to effect it will trickle down to other people," Ybarra asked. She worries that if she stays silent now her children or grandchildren may face the same issues or worse. Ybarra plans to join the protesters in North Dakota. Until she can get to the site she stands in solidarity in Texas to stop the project. 

Texas-based company Energy Transfer Partners is the parent company of the Dakota Pipeline project. On their website they say the pipeline will create up to 12 thousand jobs and produce as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day.

Those benefits don't outweigh the risks according to Central Texas environmentalists.

Director of Waco Friends of Peace and Climate Alan Northcutt said despite the temporary halt to construction, that's not enough.  

"People of this country have not come to terms with what a crisis climate change is," Northcutt said. 

Northcutt believes the bigger issue is climate change and the continued dependence on crude oil. "We cannot be building new fossil fuel infrastructure pipelines or more drilling those need to stop we need to refocus or funds and our research on renewable energy," he said. 

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved.