Is climate change something you believe in? Are environmental issues a cause for concern? Would you care if you no longer had access to clean water?
These questions are becoming a harsh reality for a Native American tribe called the Standing Rock Sioux. The reality of the Dakota Access pipeline project directly endangering the tribe’s way of life.
The Dakota Access pipeline project aims to build a 1,172 mile long pipeline that would connect North Dakota to Illinois, in which to transport crude oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast or East Coast. Supporters of this project see the potential to increase the region’s surrounding economy, while decreasing the need for imported oil. However, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe see things differently.
The pipeline would cross directly cross under the Missouri River at a place called Lake Oahe, which is only half a mile away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. This lake is used as the primary drink water for the reservation and is an integral part of their economy.
Although builders of the pipeline insist they’ve taken all necessary measures to protect against disasters, history shows leaks are almost inevitable. 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. The smallest crack will have detrimental impacts to the surrounding water supply. Even with all these risks for contamination, the Energy Transfer company was able to find loopholes to pull the proper permits for construction.
Additionally environmentalists argue the pipeline would only fuel man-made climate changes by increasing the country’s oil infrastructure. For these reasons we are seeing a vast majority of protestors on site at Standing Rock, physically halting the pipeline’s construction.
Various groups of people from all different backgrounds have come together to stand alongside the Sioux Tribe (including a huge social media presence). Even after controversial reports of brutal treatment (guard dogs, rubber bullets, sound devices) from police authorities, activists are still standing their ground. Camps filled with tents and tipis will continue to occupy the space throughout the winter. All united together to enforce the one message of “Water is Life”.
How do you perceive this situation? Do you believe nature should be protected at all costs? Does water actually equal life?
If you believe in this cause you can sign the petition to stop this construction.