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Dakota Access Pipeline

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Dakota Access Pipeline

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The overarching goal of the Dakota Access Pipeline sounds undeniably positive. The existence of the pipeline would create 374.3 million gallons of gasoline a day, promoting self sufficiency in the United States’ dependence on oil. It also acts as an alternative to transporting oil through railroads, where any derailment could cause extreme damage.

In its simplest terms this plan seems harmless, which is how it was so easily approved. However, that pipeline is set to lie beneath the Missouri River and indigenous lands. ”

In its simplest terms this plan seems harmless, which is how it was so easily approved. However, that pipeline is set to lie beneath the Missouri River and indigenous lands. The Sioux tribe of North Dakota has its culture rooted in its land. The pipeline will pass through Sioux burial and prayer sites. If ruptured, the pipeline could destroy sacred land and contaminate the tribe’s water supply. Supporters of the pipeline argue that the risk of a rupture is practically impossible, but the 2010 pipeline spill in Michigan resulted in 1,000,000 gallons of crude oil in the Kalamazoo River. This is the risk protesters fear.

Supporters of the pipeline argue that the risk of a rupture is practically impossible, but the 2010 pipeline spill in Michigan resulted in 1,000,000 gallons of crude oil in the Kalamazoo River. This is the risk protesters fear.”

Under federal law, it is a requirement that the Standing Rock Sioux be involved in the permitting process of the pipeline. This, however, did not happen. The Sioux tribe feels that this is one of many occasions where projects meant to benefit the country have occurred at the expense of Native Americans. Originally, the pipeline was meant to pass by Bismarck, but was rerouted for the residents feared it would be dangerously close to water sources, wetlands, main roads, and residential areas. When the residents argued the pipeline would put them at risk, people listened. The curious and unsettling solution was to, instead, have it pass through alternative water sources and communities. This time, it was those of the Sioux tribe. If the danger was placed in the hands of the Native Americans, the construction could move forward.

The construction of the pipeline had to cut corners to even be considered legal. The Corps of Engineers documented it as a series of small construction projects, rather than an expansive pipeline, to avoid the environmental review that is required by the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The protests of the Sioux tribe were justified and under reported. The community of Bismarck simply voiced their concerns and the pipeline was immediately rerouted. Yet, for skewed reasons, the Sioux Tribe had to fight longer, yell louder, and work tirelessly to gain recognition. Their efforts were reported as acts of exaggerated passion, not a defense of their legal rights.

December 4 marked the day that President Obama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided they would not approve permits for building. This success ended all arguments that the movement was over exaggerated and unnecessary. To support the construction of the pipeline is to prioritize economic gain and blatantly ignore the rights of the Sioux.

To support the construction of the pipeline is to prioritize economic gain and blatantly ignore the rights of the Sioux.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline spurred such a divide between the supporters and the protesters because it is simple to develop a convincing argument for either side if you tactically leave out details. The construction of a pipeline such as this could create jobs, improve the economy, and decrease the United State’s dependency on foreign oil. However, it should be built far from developed communities and water sources. The protection of water sources, the respect of Native American land, and equal treatment of communities should always take precedence over economic profit.

 

 

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Emma Davison, News Editor

Emma Davison is a senior at Mount Saint Dominic Academy. In school, she participates in the TCI peer mentoring program, Peer Leadership, Poetry Club, Justice...

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Dakota Access Pipeline