HUXLEY, Iowa — If longtime activist Brenda Brink has advice, it must be to never give up. “It’s always darkest before the dawn and we just need to keep fighting,” she said outside of her home near Huxley. For Brink, fighting for what she believes in led her to six years protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which began operations three years ago. “It takes dedication and when you are feeling like you have no energy left, those other groups will pull you up,” Brenda said.
On Monday U.S. District Judge James Boasberg aligned with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and ordered the pipeline flowing with crude oil to shut down. Saying “Clear precedent favoring vacatur during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take,” It was a decision Brenda felt may be on the horizon. “We all felt what he needed to do was rule for us, Standing Rock but to actually have it happen in this day and age is pretty cool.”
Energy Transfer in Texas owns the pipeline that extends from North and South Dakota, through 18 counties in Iowa and ends in Illinois. They intend to fight just as hard to keep it open. In a statement the company said, “We intend to immediately file a motion to stay this decision and if not granted, to pursue a stay and expedited appeal with the court of appeals. We also believe that the army corps of engineers has the ultimate jurisdiction over this matter, pursuant to its regulations governing Corps property.”
Brenda says it is wishful thinking. She said, “I think they are reaching for straws because again the tide is turning.”
Some protests throughout the country became violent in North Dakota and construction sites were vandalized in Sioux County and Mahaska County in Iowa after the Iowa Utilities Board gave unanimous approval to begin. “For Standing Rock, Missouri River is their water source so they of course are very happy about it,” said Brenda.
Over 500,000 barrels per day flow underneath Highway 169 near Huxley. Brenda’s home is just a mile away. For six long years her protests were personal. “There’s been documented cases where the pipeline is deficient and so it gives me, and I hope, other people more of a sense of being protected,” Brenda said.
According to the judge’s order the pipeline must shut down within the next thirty days and would not resume operations until the review is over.