The North Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Protestors

By Rhian Gibson

Since 2014, there have been plans for a Dakota access pipeline, this pipeline measures in at 1,885km with an estimated cost of $4 billion but what exactly will it do? Apart from making the land of Dakota look immensely beautiful; like a beautiful painting with a giant metal pipe across it, it will also transport 570,000 barrels of oil daily from Bakken in North Dakota to Patoka in Illinois. This will do wonders for climate change. And a $4 billion project being built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners can’t be stopped by a few environmental protestors and Native Americans, can it?

Protestors of the pipeline are working under the name of #NoDAPL (No Dakota Access Pipeline). But the majority of these protestors, calling themselves “water protectors” are Native Americans from the tribe of the Standing Rock Sioux, which is located in North and South Dakota. Approximately 10,000 people are members of this tribe and they are defiant against the pipeline being built. Their main reason for protesting the pipeline is the fact it will go under the Missouri River. It’s not because the little fishes minding their own business down there might bump into the pipe after a long day of doing fish stuff but it’s because the river of Missouri is where the people of the Sioux tribe get their drinking water. And what do a group of people love to have in their drinking water (apart from fluoride; control the masses, people!) but oil. But it’s not really; I’m being sarcastic in case you haven’t realised that yet. The water in Missouri River is also used to farm crops, to supply life to animals, people and to benefit the surrounding land.

Another thing that protestors aren’t approving of is that this pipe will interfere with a sacred burial ground in Native American land. Which will mean ghosts and stuff but they are also completely opposing the beliefs of an entire race.

Even though Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners insist that they are being extra safe in the building of the pipe; like really extra safe. If there is a leak, they’ll stick a plaster on it because nothing bad has ever happened to an oil pipe with a little hole in it. Except according to time.com; “The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than 3,300 incidents of leaks and ruptures at oil and gas pipelines since 2010.” So that’s perfectly not ok.

Police at the site have been trying to stop protestors; they’ve set their dogs on them, they’ve sprayed them with powerful water hoses (because protestors rarely have time for a bath) and they’ve even “…used pepper spray, rubber bullets and high-pitched noise cannons to disperse the activists who refused to leave, arresting 141 people in the process.”; a statement by the Washington Post.

The members of the Sioux tribe and other protestors should be applauded; they are standing up against a corporation who are extraordinarily keen on going ahead with their plans. Sure, oil is a natural resource for power and a pipeline transporting crude oil will benefit heating and electricity, but what it doesn’t benefit is the tribe of Standing Rock and our planet Earth. Their land, water supply and way of life will be contaminated and the increase in oil will affect climate change. So; they will continue to fight, they will continue to do all they can to assure that this mass construction will not be finished and that this company will cease to harm the existence of the people who live off the land.

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