The North Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.7 billion project covering an area more than a thousand miles from North Dakota to Illinois. “If” it is completed it will be the largest crude oil line in the area. The pipeline was originally going to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck. North Dakota citizens were concerned of the potential damage to their water supply, so the pipeline route has been changed and will now threaten the water supply of the The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Native Americans fear the pipeline’s route under the Missouri River will cause problems if the pipeline leaks or breaks. Rightfully so, the United States Army Corps of Engineers failed to do proper cultural and historical reviews before granting federal approvals for the pipeline.
As a result the tribe began a peaceful protest that has gained support from environmental activists along with other tribes from the Dakotas, the rest of the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest as well as supporters from around the world. They have been gathering at The Standing Rock Reservation since July offering support. A group from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota jogged nearly 100 miles in one day from home to a prayer campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota to show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the #NoDAPL campaign. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is one of many communities in addition to Standing Rock who would be devastated by an oil spill from the pipeline. The tribe also rely on the south-flowing Missouri River waters for their livelihood.
The true spirit of those that have been gathering is not at all like the images seen by mainstream media, portraying the camp as violent and dangerous. The Governor of North Dakota is considering to issue a state of emergency, spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on extra law enforcement in hopes of blocking visitors from entering the Reservation. The State has even cut off the water supply that the Tribe had initially received from the North Dakota Public Service department, citing that the equipment would be in danger on site in Cannon Ball. The reality is the gathering camp The Sacred Stone Camp, is a place of prayer, family, singing and cultural dancing. Folks from all over are gathered together to support one another through a scary time in which their water and livelihood are at risk.
The Environmental group called Earth Justice filed a lawsuit in July on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, seeking an injunction against the US Army Corp of Engineers for starting the project without securing environmental safety testing.
Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builder, said through a spokesperson that it is “constructing this pipeline in accordance with applicable laws, and the local, state and federal permits and approvals we have received.”
“An oil spill would represent a genuine catastrophe for the people who live there“, said Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earth Justice, an environmental organization that filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Standing Rock Tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which approved the pipeline. “It isn’t just cultural and religious, it’s their economic lifeblood.”
The suit alleges the pipeline violates the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.
The oil company, Texas-based, Dakota Access LLC, also filed a lawsuit against Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II and other protesters, seeking restraining orders and unspecified monetary damages.Developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline sued in federal court to stop protesters near the American Indian reservation from interfering with the project, alleging the safety of workers and law enforcement is at risk.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) said he was surprised when he found out about the pipeline proposal, though he too hasn’t yet taken a firm position on it, saying he wants to “see what it’s all about” first. He did push the importance of pipeline safety though, as well as the need for Iowa to transition more toward renewable resources. “We seem to be putting more and more money into the century-old resources of oil and coal rather than looking at the 21st and 22nd Century energy resources”, Harkin said. “We have to reduce our carbon footprint. The cheapest barrel of oil still is the barrel that you don’t burn.”
KNOW THE PLAYERS:
The oil company who is drilling is the Texas-based Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company. Learn more about them here: http://www.daplpipelinefacts.com/about/overview.html
The materials supplier for the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners: http://www.energytransfer.com
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: http://standingrock.org
The efforts of the #NoDAPL supporters aka the water protectors have proven effective, so far. The pipeline construction has been temporarily halted by the owners, the Dallas-based company called Energy Transfer Co. The pipeline company said that it temporarily stopped work here this month while “law enforcement works to contain the unlawful protests,” but that construction was continuing elsewhere.
HOW TO HELP.