Pipeline Protests Take Place in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  On Tuesday, President Trump cleared the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline and delivered a metaphorical gut-punch to pipeline protestors.

The executive order sparked protests across the country and right here in Des Moines.

On Saturday, self-proclaimed “water protectors” gathered at the Neal Smith Federal Building to send a message to the Trump administration in Washington.

“It's like that song, we get knocked down, we get up again. It's time to get back up again,” said protestor Channing Dutton.

Protestors say for morale, they're focusing on how many other demonstrations are occurring nationally rather than who is in the White House.

“It doesn't diminish my hope, it increases my hope because people are basically getting desperate and rising up,” said Elaine Rice.

Rice, a Native American, says the stakes couldn’t be higher.

“Nothing survives without water, and that's what's at stake. All pipelines leak as the cliché goes, it's not a matter of if, but when,” she said.

For Iowa, that “when” was Wednesday, when a Magellan pipeline ruptured in North Central Iowa spilling almost 140,000 gallons of diesel onto private farmland.

“You know they say these pipelines are safe, but we just saw it with our own eyes. Now they're telling us that this pipeline that they want to start flowing through is going to be safe, I’m not sure I buy that line,” said Dutton.

For others, the fight is personal. Twelve-year-old Autumn Longvisitor was born at Standing Rock, the headquarters of the pipeline protests. She says this is a fight for her generation as well, and appreciates seeing people standing up for her homeland.

“It shows that they care about other people's future and most of their children, too,” said Longvisitor.

In what has mostly been a partisan fight in state and national legislatures, protestors hope their congressmen and women will see past party lines, and do what they say is in the best interest of the planet.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is a human issue. It affects us all, whether we're young or old, tall or short. We have the same stake in the future,” said Dutton.

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