Dakota Access Pipeline standoff continues

by Truman Ross, Editorial

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The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172 mile long that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas spanning from North Dakota to Illinois. In theory, this 30-inch diameter pipeline could carry up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil each day. The pipeline would play a key component in the expansion of an already booming oil business in North Dakota, due to the recent development of fracking. This idea was first proposed in 2014, by the Texas based Energy Transfer Partners.

Last month, The Obama Administration, partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Interior, temporarily shut down construction. But why? If the 3.7 billion dollar investment would open up 12,000 potential jobs, why did the president shut it down?

That is because the pipeline runs under the Missouri River, the primary source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux, a Native American tribe which has a reservation in the central part of North and South Dakota. That reservation is home to over 10,000 Native Americans who need the water supplied to them by the Missouri River.

Of course, the builders of the pipeline claim to have, “Taken extraordinary measures” to prevent against any potential problems, but the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than 3,300 incidents of leaks or ruptures.

Protests have been taking place all over the Dakotas, with the first one occurring last April when members of the Standing Rock Tribe and other Native American nations rode on horseback and established a spiritual camp called Sacred Stone. A plethora of other camps have emerged since then, the pinnacle being Oceti Sakowin, with more than 1,000 residents.

Violence has erupted in which officials sprayed protesters with a water cannon and tear gas as they attempted to cross a bridge outside the encampment.  Seventeen people were treated for hypothermia at local hospitals as a result of the encounter.

It will be interesting to see how President Elect Donald Trump handles the ordeal when he is inaugurated in January. Interestingly enough, Trump’s pick for the head of the Department of Energy is Rick Perry, who just so happens to be on the board of directors for the Energy Transfer Partners. This, of course, raises an uncomfortable amount of skepticism, though Trump remains firm in his statement that he plans to resolve the pipeline standoff “very quickly” after he takes office.

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