Protesting the newly permitted Diamond Pipeline, members of the Arkansas Water Guardians held a large sign reading “No AR Oil Pipeline” over the Garland Avenue bridge from about 5-7 p.m. Wednesday.
“(We are here) for our water, for our children, for our future,” said Fayetteville resident Harmony Greer, who wore a “Stop Diamond Pipeline” sign on her back.
The group was founded at the beginning of November and has met three times, members said. Greer was one of the six protesters on the bridge at around 6:30 p.m.
“The peak traffic hours are between five and seven and that’s what we are nailing,” protestor Marion Tichenor said. “We really want the word to travel.”
The $900-million-dollar, 440-mile long Diamond Pipeline will provide a refinery located in Memphis, Tennessee with crude oil sourced from a Plains All American storage facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, according to Houston-based Plains All American website. The oil will be processed into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to supply the greater Memphis and eastern Arkansas regions.
The pipeline is planned to stretch across Arkansas and parts of Oklahoma, crossing some 500 waterways, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It will cross many endangered species’ habitats and at least 11 watersheds that are used for drinking water sources, Greer said.
“The EDH Engineering Section has reviewed the route of the proposed All Plains American Diamond Pipeline through western Arkansas and finds that elements of the route and the construction could have an adverse impact on public drinking water sources nearby. Given the risks of contamination posed by proximity to drinking waters sources, ADH Engineering requests that an alternative pipeline route… be chosen,” said the Arkansas Department of Health letter sent March 1 to the Corps.
In October, Nathan Mabry quit his job in Mountain View to travel to the Dakota Pipeline protest at the Standing Rock Native American Reservation, he said, where he saw bridges and military vehicles set on fire.
“When I got there (to Dakota), going to the front line meant that you’d be arrested if you decided to cross the line,” Mabry said. “Then it became you’d be arrested maybe just for standing behind the line, and then it very quickly became OC canisters, batons and rubber bullets just within the two weeks I was there.”
He went the front lines twice, but was never attacked, he said. Once he heard about the Diamond Pipeline he returned home and joined the Arkansas Water Guardians.
“It’s just as important,” he said. “The whole country, I think, is going to come together to try to do what Standing Rock is doing. We’ve all been really inspired by it.”
The group will march in protest of the pipeline at noon Dec. 10 starting at the Walton Arts Center parking lot. They will have a light brigade outside the Bud Walton Arena at 6 p.m. that night, according the the group’s flyer.