What is the Dakota Access Pipeline?
The Dakota Access Pipeline, also called the Bakken Pipeline, is a 1,172-mile-long underground pipeline project. It’s supposed to run between North Dakota and Illinois, transporting just under 500,000 barrels of oil per day.
According to Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil, the pipeline would help the U.S. become less dependent on foreign oil. However, opponents say that the oil coming from the Dakota Access Pipeline won’t actually be used in the U.S.
Who’s Objecting the Dakota Access Pipeline?
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a number of clean-water, clean-air activists have been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline since mid-April 2016. Opponents claim that the pipeline is a direct threat to the Missouri River, which is the primary water source for the Standing Rock reservation and communities nearby.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued the federal government, claiming that they were not properly consulted on the project. They also claim that the construction and operation of the pipeline “threatens the Tribe's environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe.”
Under the law, federal agencies must consider both environmental risks and the protection of Native American historic and sacred sites.
According to Dave Archambault II, the elected chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, “The Army Corps has ignored all those laws and fast-tracked this massive project just to meet the pipeline's aggressive construction schedule.”
Other than the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club, thousands of individual protestors have camped at the site in an attempt to halt construction.
What’s Happening Now?
The Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not allow completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline until there has been additional research into the risks—but some people fear the incoming administration will allow the project to move forward. According to President-Elect Donald Trump’s financial disclosure forms, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated more than $100,000 to help elect Trump; the same forms show that Trump has invested between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in Energy Transfer Partners. Additionally, Trump owns stock worth between a half-million and $1,000,000 in Phillips 66, which will own 25 percent of the completed pipeline.
What Do You Think?
How much do you know about the Dakota Access Pipeline, considering it hasn’t received much media coverage over the past six months? What’s your opinion on what will happen (and what’s already happened)? Are the Sioux right to sue the federal government, or should they allow the pipeline to proceed without objection?