Amy Sisk

More than a month after construction began on a controversial stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the front line of the fight is filled with faces from Alaska to Florida.

The indigenous people here on the North Dakota prairie have waged similar fights on their reservations.

  Take the Sahme family, who set up camp a short walk from the central fire where people converge to hear prayer and song to the place.

“My dad brought a good tent,” said Tiwani Sahme as he opens the zipper.

Many Reasons, One Cause In Pipeline Protest

Sep 14, 2016
Amy Sisk

Opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues to grow beyond its North Dakota roots, with solidarity protests Tuesday in dozens of cities across the country and the world.

The protests began in April with a few members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is downstream of where the 1,200-mile pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. The tribe is concerned a leak could contaminate its drinking water and that construction is already harming sacred sites near the reservation. But as the protests have spread, the motivations have also become more diverse.

The developer of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline says it intends to meet with federal officials about the government’s decision to stop construction on the project near the Missouri River.


Andrew Cullen

Hundreds of people gathered on the lawn outside the North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck Friday afternoon for what was supposed to be a protest over construction of the $3.7-billion Dakota Access pipeline.


Dozens of state troopers lined up on the lawn in riot helmets, prepared for the possibility of violence. But the mood was joyous. People danced and sang and chanted, celebrating a surprise victory.


Just 12 years old, Alice Brownotter leads a crowd of hundreds in a rally against a major oil pipeline.

“We can’t drink oil,” they chant. “Keep it in the soil.”

She’s protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is slated to cross under the Missouri River, just upstream of her home on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in south-central North Dakota.

“When it goes through - or if - and when it breaks, it will affect everyone,” Alice said.

Dakota Access Pipeline construction stopped

Aug 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said construction of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Mandan has been stopped – for safety reasons.

Kirschmeier said between 1500 and 2000 people are protesting the pipeline. He says Highway 1806 has now been closed just south of the Veterans’ Cemetery to the Sioux County line. Kirschmeyer said the protests have turned – as he put it – “unlawful.”

"Our biggest concern at this point is with traffic safety," Kirschmeier told reporters. "We want to make sure the protestors have the area to protest, but it has to be done legally."

1,500 join Standing Rock oil pipeline protest

Aug 17, 2016
Amy Sisk

Native Americans from Wyoming, Colorado and as far as Oklahoma are pulling up by the busload to protest an oil pipeline in rural North Dakota.

Construction began near the Missouri River section of the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline last week. This week, more than 1,500 protesters arrived at the border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

“For two, years we’ve been holding them off, waiting for you to come. Now you’re here with us,” Jon Eagle Sr. told a cheering crowd at a protesters’ camp near the construction site.

Why North Dakota coal is the last man standing

Aug 16, 2016
Amy Sisk

From Stan Burling’s house at the end of Main Street, it’s a minute walk to downtown Hazen in central North Dakota.

The street sports a thriving business community in this town of 2,400 with amenities like a drug store, an insurance company, a Chevy car dealer.

Power plants surround Hazen, along with the coal mines that feed them.

“They support the local economy,” Burling said.

About half the residents work in the industry, or in a related job.

“They buy their vehicles here, groceries, support the local retail businesses,” he said.

Basin Electric's power generation mix is changing

Aug 16, 2016

Basin Electric Power Cooperative said its sources of fuel to generate power have changed quite a bit since the year 2000.

Basin senior legislative representative Dale Niezwaag said in 2000, 85 percent of electricity generated by the co-op came from coal, with 10 percent hydropower, and the rest from oil, diesel and wind.

And by the end of this year...

"We'll have about 24 percent of our portfolio as renewable," Niezwaag said. "About 23 percent of that is wind."

The rest of that mix: 46 percent coal and 19 percent natural gas.

Courtesy EERC

An ethanol producer with a plant at Richardton will be working with the Energy and Environmental Research Center on a carbon capture project.

The Industrial Commission has awarded the project $490,000. That's half the projected $980,000 cost.

"When you make ethanol, it comes with a "CI" value, a carbon-intensity value," said Dustin Willett, the chief operating officer of Red Trail Energy. "The lower the "CI" value, the better it is for the earth, as well as from a marketing standpoint."

The CO@ comes from the ethanol fermenters at the plant.