North Dakota Access Pipeline Sparks Outrage
The Dakota Access Pipeline, becoming infamous for the protests against it, is a design for 1,172 miles of pipeline to carry oil from production areas in North Dakota to refinery markets in Illinois. According to the New York Times, this potential $3.7 billion project could create up to 12,000 new construction jobs, ultimately helping the economy of our nation. So why are people protesting?
If passed, the Dakota Access Pipeline would stretch through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, passing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation and through their ancestral lands. The pipeline would also run under the Missouri River, likely posing a major threat to the American Indians’ water supply. The earth’s security and Stand Rock Sioux Tribe’s cultural roots are balancing on a thin line.
Hundreds of people, American Indians from various tribes and more, have camped out near the construction site in protest. They claim that their presence is one of peaceful protest and hope.
On the other hand, some worry that this hope could easily turn to violence if this project continues or if the government tries to remove the camp. Twenty people have been arrested since the protests began in April, and the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, has sued some people, claiming they threatened contractors.
The violence, however, is not one-sided. In early September, a private security company used dogs and pepper spray against the protesters after they crossed a fence into the construction site.
A clear division between those who want the pipeline and those who don’t has caused the governor of North Dakota to declare a state of emergency. As of late August, law enforcement has barricaded the main highway leading to the protest site and the campers.
The federal government halted the construction last week and placed the project under review, a slight victory for the protestors.