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Dakota Access Pipeline Legal Battle to Rage Through Summer

Native American protest inside Union Station in Washington, D.C., in support of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe s stance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL. November 15, 2016.

The protesters and cameras are gone and oil is flowing[1] through the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, but the battle over the 1,200-mile pipeline continues in a federal courtroom in Washington, D.C.

In the next few months, a team of lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Norton Rose Fulbright[2] will try to convince a district judge to keep the pipeline open while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reassesses the permit it granted Dakota Access. The Standing Rock Sioux and other nearby tribes asked that the pipeline be shut down Wednesday during the Corps review.

Opening briefs on the issue from Dakota Access and the Corps were set for July 17, and the tribes response is due Aug. 7. A decision isn t expected until as early as September.

Last week, in a 91-page opinion[3], Judge James Boasberg ruled the Corps permitting process was legally flawed. Boasberg ordered the Corps to conduct further review to determine if an EIS is needed, but declined to vacate the existing permit.

Leading the charge for Dakota Access, which joined forces with the Army Corps as an intervenor, are William Scherman, David Debold and Miguel Estrada of Gibson Dunn, and Kimberly Caine and Robert Comer of Norton Rose. Alan Glen of Nossaman is also on the team.

Opposing them is Jan Hasselman with the environmental legal group Earthjustice[4], who is arguing the case on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Our view is that until there is a proper risk analysis that looks at the risk of oil spills, that considers the impacts to the tribe, they shouldn t be operating that pipeline, Hasselman said after the hearing. We ll be saying that as forcefully as we can to the court.

Another concern for the tribes, raised multiple times during the hearing Wednesday, is whether the Corps will allow public comment and input from the tribes during the review. If they don t, Hasselman said his clients will seek a court order requiring it.

If the Army Corps goes into a room and closes the door and comes up with a new analysis, we won t have moved this ball forward. We won t have solved any legal problem. We ll just be back in front of the court again, Hasselman said. So our position is, this needs to be an open process.

The tribes had argued[5] that under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Corps should be required to conduct a full environmental impact statement, known as an EIS, before issuing a permit to Dakota Access. In December, the Obama administration rescinded the permit and ordered[6] an EIS. But in February, the Trump administration rescinded that order and granted the permit.

For much of last year, the litigation ran parallel to massive protests by tribe members and activists at the pipeline construction site in North Dakota. An estimated 10,000 people camped out in the area to protest, the last of whom were cleared[7] out in February. Tensions reached new heights after protests turned violent[8] amid clashes with private security officers in September. North Dakota then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple even activated[9] the state s National Guard to assist local law enforcement with the protests.

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10 Politically Themed Movies You Don’t Want to Miss This Summer

From “Detroit” to “The Big Sick,” this year’s offerings are refreshingly topical.

10 Politically Themed Movies You Don't Want To Miss This Summer

Photo Credit: Annapurna Channel / YouTube

Summer is typically the season of mindless blockbusters, but this year’s slate offers more than its fair share of political intrigue.

Here are 10 such films that are worth a closer look.

1. “Pray for Rain” (June 16)

10 Politically Themed Movies You Don't Want To Miss This Summer

A journalist (Jane Seymour) returns home to her drought-stricken California town, now overtaken by gangs whom she suspects killed her father.

“He butted heads with some politicians and environmentalists, but nothing pointed to anything other than an accident,” the local sheriff tells her.

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2. “The Big Sick” (June 23)

This romantic comedy explores the intersection of terrorism and health care, two subjects that will dominate the news cycle for months to come. On top of that, the main character (Kumail Nanjiani) is an Uber driver. Could this film get any more topical?

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3. “The Beguiled” (June 30)

Sofia Coppola’s remake, which earned her the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is already steeped in controversy[1] for its white-washing of the original 1966 novel, set in the Civil War. Coppola claimed[2] she “wasn t really looking at the [Confederacy’s] political aspects,” even as a national debate rages over the removal of confederate monuments.

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4. “Dunkirk” (July 21)

This WWII epic is tells the true story of the code-named Operation Dynamo, in which 300,000 Allied troops were evacuated from Dunkirk, France following the Battle of France in May 1940. It’s director Christopher Nolan’s shortest film[3] yet, clocking in at just 107 minutes.

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5. “Menashe” (July 28)

Due to strict religious tradition, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish widower and grocery store clerk (Menashe Lustig) has his son taken from him after the death of his wife.

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6. “The Dark Tower” (August 4)

The hybrid science-fiction/fantasy/western/horror film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, produced and based on the book by Stephen King, features this telling nod to contemporary American life.

“Do they have guns and bullets in your world?” Elba, a protective gunslinger, asks Lucas Hanson (Nicholas Hamilton) from Mid-World, a dystopian parallel universe.

“You’re gonna like Earth,” Hanson says in response. “A lot.”

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7. “Detroit” (August 4)

Director Katherine Bigelow’s heavily anticipated new film follows the 1967 Detroit riot, and the horrifying chain of events that preceded it, from the perspective of a security guard (John Boyega).

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8. “Wind River” (August 4)

Rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called to investigate a murder on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation after U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) finds the body of a teenage runaway on a frozen lake. Wind River is one of the most remote areas of the U.S. and remains the sole reservation in the nation self-governed by two separate tribal governments[4].

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9. “The Glass Castle” (August 11)

“Rich city folk in fancy apartments,” Rex Walls (Woody Harrelson) tells his children. “But their air is so polluted they can’t see the stars.”

The Glass Castle is based on the 2005 memoir by Jeannette Walls, which spent nearly five years[5] on the New York Times bestseller list. The film shifts back and forth between Walls’ reflections on her poverty-stricken childhood to her present-day ruminations on the wealth inequality within her own family.

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10. “Bushwick” (August 25)

Texas has seceded from the United States and a new civil war has begun, yet gentrification continues apace.

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Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor[6].


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11 arrested in Cedar Point brawl

SANDUSKY Police arrested 11 people early Monday morning at Cedar Point after a huge brawl, with patrons being pepper sprayed and a man hit with a Taser when he attempted to take an officer s gun, according to the Sandusky Police Department. A crowd of hundreds of people believed to have been park patrons and Cedar Point staff gathered around officers and combatants about 2 a.m. Monday outside the Cedar Point Commons Apartments in the continuation of an earlier altercation, according to police reports and Detective Sgt. Kevin Youskievicz. Multiple departments responded to disperse the crowd. According to police reports, Carlos Demetrius Clayton, 19, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio was seen pushing through employees outside the apartments. When security guards tried to intervene, he started to fight them, prompting a Cedar Point police officer to join the fray.

During the struggle, staff and the officer got Mr. Clayton to his knees, when he reached behind him and tried to take the officer s gun, according to police. At that point, another officer shot Mr. Clayton in the back with a Taser, and he stopped struggling. He was charged with assault on a police officer, aggravated robbery, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and underage consumption. A crowd of several hundred people gathered around during the fray and began closing in on officers, causing them to tell the crowd to get back. Some did not, and either tried to intervene or stop officers from arresting members of the crowd, according to police.

Arrested along with Mr. Clayton were:

Anthony Freeman, 18, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, charged with four counts of riot, along with failure to disperse and resisting arrest;

Kainan Kordero-Kendrick Reed, 20, of Clinton Township, Mich., charged with riot and resisting arrest;

Paula Ann Smith, 19, of Toledo, charged with four counts riot, and a count each of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, underage consumption;

Jakari J. Willis, 19, of Oak Park, Mich., charged with riot, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest;

Russell Lee Donahue, 22, of Detroit, charged with riot;

Yulani M. Rodgers, 18, of Triangle, Va., 18, charged with four counts riot, and one count each of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and underage consumption;

Roshown Baker, 18, of Detroit, 18, charged with riot;

Brittany Hawkin, 18, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., 18, charged with four counts riot, and one county each of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, underage consumption;

Angel Barnes, 18, of Harper Woods, Mich., charged with resisting arrest, and

Justin Eddie-Marquez, 21, of Detroit, charged with four counts of riot and one count each of failure to disperse, resisting arrest, and underage consumption. His arrest occurred on the eve of his 21st birthday. Detective Sergeant Youskievicz said police were not sure what prompted the brawl. An officer suffered cuts on her elbow and a finger, while a security guard had a swollen face from being punched. Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement[1] or visitor’s agreement[2], are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on To find out more, please visit the FAQ[3].


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