Sit-in is shut out

Oil pipeline protest visits Rep. King’s office

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Dakota Access Pipe Line protesters Emma Schmit, of Rockwell City, along with Vince Wilson, of Pomeroy, leave some of their protest signs on the door to U.S. Rep. Steve King's office in downtown Fort Dodge Wednesday afternoon. With the office closed, the group was not able to engage in a planned sit-in.

A planned sit-in by a small group of Bold Iowa protesters at the downtown Fort Dodge offices of U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, came to little Thursday when they found the office closed.

Instead, several members of the group left protest signs on the door.

Emma Schmit, of Rockwell City, was disappointed.

“It would be effective if somebody was actually here,” she said. “How is he supposed to represent us if he won’t talk to us?”

Vince Wilson, of Pomeroy, was among those who made the march to the planned sit-in. He was prepared to let King know of his opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We’re here to tell him that we’re opposed to the pipeline,” Wilson said. “It’s the death of us.”

Chrisann Diaz, also of Pomeroy, was not only concerned with the pipeline. She had concerns about recent Trump administration immigration policies.

She expressed particular concern with the most recent proposed changes that would deport any illegal alien for the violation of being in the U.S. illegally.

With the awareness that the majority of the pipeline construction has already been completed, members of the group continue to wage a battle to, at the very least, not have oil flow through it.

“They could just leave it there,” Wilson said. “They could just forget the whole deal. Pumping toxic sludge over the Ogallala Aquifer is just stupid.”

Schmit tends to agree with him.

“There’s no oil in it,” she said. “Delay, delay, delay. We’ll keep trying, there’s people saying no, we don’t want pipelines.”

Another issue that’s followed the Dakota Access Pipeline is what opponents classify as abuse of the eminent domain statutes that allow the taking of private property for public projects. Many are also concerned that the pipeline violates the rights of Native American tribes in North and South Dakota.

Doug Fitzgerald, of Rockwell City, is among those.

“For me it’s all about property rights and respecting religious tradition,” he said. “I’m dead set against eminent domain abuse and that’s what seems to have happened. I also support the tribes that don’t want the pipeline under their sacred land and water sources.”

After leaving the lobby of King’s office, the group gathered on the sidewalk at the northeast corner of Eighth Street and Central Avenue to protest Wells Fargo’s financing of the pipeline project.


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