There is a large area of oil deposits in the northern great plains, called the Bakken oil fields. There already is drilling taking place in there, but it could be more effectively transported using a pipeline. A pipeline has already been proposed. It would begin in the city of Stanley, North Dakota, and it would end in Patoka, Illinois. On this route, it would pass through South Dakota and Iowa, in addition to North Dakota and Illinois.
Some Stats About The Proposed Pipeline:
- The company proposing it is Dakota Access LLC.
- The pipeline would be 1,131 miles long.
- It would transport around 450,000 barrels of oil each day.
- Much of the oil transported via the pipeline would have been extracted using fracking, which has raised many environmental concerns.
The Response Of The Standing Rock Indian Reservation:
The Standing Rock Indian Reservation has taken steps to try to stop the pipeline from being built. One concern those at the Standing Rock Reservation have about the pipeline is it’s path through regions of significance to the tribe. In addition, there are concerns that a leaking oil pipeline in the area could potentially pollute the water supply.
There have been cases where this has happened with other pipelines. There have been two recent oil spills in the Midwest. One of them polluted the Yellowstone River, along with another spill into the Kalamazoo River of Michigan.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also taken legal action against the pipeline. They have begun a lawsuit against the US Army Corps of Engineers, who granted Dakota Access LLC the right to build the pipeline. One of the preliminary hearings was held already.
The Construction Began Despite The Lawsuit:
Construction was started, despite the fact that it was thought that there could potentially be graves of Native Americans in the region and that the legal proceedings were still underway. During the period of construction, a two mile long ditch was built with a width of 150 feet.
Dakota Access LLC brought in security guards, and they used attack dogs and pepper spray against the protestors. Experts in law enforcement, along with the American Civil Liberties Union have condemned both of these actions on part of the security guards.
The Outcome Of The Protests Thus Far:
Due to the protests, the construction has been at least temporarily halted. Whether the construction will continue as planned will be determined by the outcome of upcoming legal proceedings.
In addition, other protesters from outside of the area have joined in the effort to stop the pipeline. Many native americans throughout the country are protesting the pipeline, and there have also been many non-native americans that have joined in on the protests. There have even been protests of the pipeline in some major cities, such as New York City. In addition, Bernie Sanders has joined the cause to stop the pipeline.