The 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline runs through North and South Dakota. In July of 2016, the $3.8 billion pipeline was approved for reconstruction by the United States Army Corps of Engineer. The plan was to cross under the Missouri River, a body of water that is an essential source to about 8,000 Native American inhabitants of the surrounding land. This was essentially to have a faster transport of oil from North Dakota, all the way to a shipping point in Illinois.
The tribe argues that the smallest problem could devastate the crops and land. It also runs through sacred sites and threaten drinking water for the reservation.
According to TheWashingtonPost.com, Dean DePountis, the tribe’s attorney, said: “This pipeline is going through huge swaths of ancestral land. It would be like constructing a pipeline through Arlington Cemetery or under St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”
The U.S Army Corps of Engineer was sued by the reservation for breaking the law. The reservation reasons that the Corps of Engineer did not consult such a big issue with the reservation beforehand and ignored federal regulations governing environmental standards and historic preservation, doing as they please for personal benefits.
The U.S Army Corps of Engineer argues that there was in fact a review process that was notified to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Serious conflict occurred when two Dakota Access workers plowed a sacred site. The tribe members tried to stop workers from ravaging the lands but was stopped by private security workers; the security workers had security dogs as well as pepper spray that they used to prevent any disturbances from the protestors. Reports of the four security workers and two dogs getting injured were notified, while six protesters were bitten.
The issue has gone viral, and support from various nations, individuals, and groups are backing the voices of the protesters up. More than 200 different tribes have sent their support, and well-known actors have used the hashtag #noDAPL to give their support as well.
According to apnews.com, President Obama addressed the issue: “As a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans, and I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.”
In an interview with JSR, Steven Lee, a student at LACES, says, “The company should be shut down as a whole. They really think messing with Native American’s tradition is okay. How bold can they be? They even ignore the words of Obama? That’s not right, man. It’s like building a pipeline under the house of every employee in that company, while ruining the pipes connecting their water system and supplies.”
Despite requests by federal agencies to delay the project as requested by the U.S government to discuss better proposition, the company has refused to stop construction and says they will continue to work on the pipeline.