Oil Pipeline Protesters Unfurl Banner During Vikings Game

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP) — Protesters trying to stymie the Dakota Access oil pipeline sneaked up on a truss connected to the roof and rappelled down to unfurl a huge banner inside U.S. Bank Stadium during the Minnesota Vikings’ season finale against the Chicago Bears.

Play was not interrupted on the field during Sunday’s game, but eight rows of fans seated below the banner were cleared as a precaution. The two protesters — a man and a woman — were later arrested for trespassing, Minneapolis police spokesman Officer Corey Schmidt said.

The banner urged Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to divest from the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline. Opponents contend the pipeline could affect drinking water and Native American artifacts. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will be safe.

After rappelling into place in the second quarter, the protesters hung in a seated position about 100 feet above the seats that were evacuated for safety. The pair watched the rest of the game, occasionally shifting positions or waving at people in sections behind the east end zone. Authorities declined to aggressively remove them out of safety concerns.

Stadium operator SMG released a statement saying the two people apparently climbed over a guard rail to access the ridge truss. Police spoke with them from a catwalk in attempt to get them to stop, and by the fourth quarter about a half-dozen police and firefighters in rappelling gear were on the truss waiting to remove the protesters.

But the protesters willingly climbed up their ropes as soon as the game was over. After speaking with authorities, they climbed down the stairs toward the concourse while being booed by a handful of fans who stayed to watch.

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team’s only concern is about the “safety of our fans and guests.”

Protesters say U.S. Bank has extended a large credit line to Energy Transfer Partners. U.S. Bank spokesman Dana Ripley declined comment.

The pipeline would carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois where it can be shipped on to users. Protesters camped in North Dakota for months to try to stop completion of construction.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Pipelines are always safe and reliable – until they explode. One worker dead and four hospitalized after Alabama gas pipeline explosion 10/31/16. What would have happened if this had been near a school?

  2. All Tar Sands pipelines rupture Big Time like Enbridge-Enterprise’s Line 6B that erupted 700,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude and contaminated 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River in 2010 with gross mishandling that the Feds characterized as “Keystone Kops” or Exxon’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline that ruptured 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude through a sub-division and into a reservoir at Mayflower AR in 2013, or TransCanada’s Bison pipeline that blew out in Wyoming in 2011 exactly where their own inspector said it would rupture before they fired him, or TransCanada’s Keystone-XL South pipeline, which showed hundreds of flaws but is now carrying tar sands crude through Oklahoma and Texas and is a disaster waiting to happen. Oh, and don’t forget the pipeline ruptures all over Western Canada. And by the way, these great pipeline companies usually don’t even know their lines rupture until citizens report it.

  3. For anyone who believes that the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, is safe, please educate yourself. The most recent spill in Pennsylvania in October happened at the hands of Sunoco Logistics Partners, which is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners.
    “Since 2010, over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks or ruptures have occurred on U.S. pipelines. These incidents have killed 80 people, injured 389 more, and cost $2.8 billion in damages. They also released toxic, polluting chemicals in local soil, waterways, and air.”
    According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these spills and ruptures released over 7 million gallons of crude.”
    Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/broken-pipeline-spills-5…/…

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