ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa – “It may get underground, but it`s gonna get stopped so they can never put oil through it,” said 81 year-old Shirley Gerjets on Friday, and that’s what the Calhoun County farmer is hoping for, even as construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to progress all around her farm land.
“Our protesting is our last resort, because everything they`ve been doing out here is illegal, until that lawsuit gets through and the judge says ‘yes they could use eminent domain.’ They do not have the right to do what they`re doing right now. If you read the Constitution, they’re overstepping their boundaries by miles and miles,” said Gerjets about the construction of the pipeline.
Gerjets has been offered money repeatedly, but wasn’t interested. “It`s dirty money, they`re bribing,” said the feisty, tough as nails farmer. “I`m going down screaming and kicking,” she said.
And Gerjets has supporters joining the fight by camping out on her land. She says the campers are peaceful.
“Our group is a non-violent protest group,” said Gerjets. “We have training courses before every outing, so everybody knows this is non-violent. No guns allowed. No drugs allowed.”
Jean Dawson isn’t worried about violent clashes with the authorities like what happened recently with protesters in North Dakota.
“The law enforcement officials here, I can’t say that they’ve been sympathetic, but they’re very respectful,” said Dawson.
Peaceful and passionate are the campers. Jesse Horne opposes the the pipeline so strongly, that he quit his high paying job as software engineer at Pioneer, to come to Rockwell City, camp out and join the protest.
“I`m not willing to let human life be lost for a dollar,” said Horne, while describing what he believes to be the dangerous nature of the oil pipeline.