Location USA USA

Native American Protests Against Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Just Keep Getting Bigger

by Jaimes Campbell

The Bakken pipeline would run a similar path to that of the failed Keystone XL project. This path would take the pipeline through sovereign Native lands, across the Ogallala aquifer and the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Alejandro Dávila Fragoso with Think Progress reports:

A federal court said on Wednesday it will rule next month whether to temporarily halt construction of a controversial oil pipeline that has prompted large protests in North Dakota.

After more than an hour-long hearing, Judge James E. Boasberg said he’ll decide as early as Sept. 9 on the injunction request the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed against the so-called Bakken pipeline, a massive fracked oil line that would cut through four Midwestern states and hundreds of waterways.

“We are pleased that we had our day in court today, and we look forward to a ruling soon,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archaumbault II. “I believe that everyone who attended the hearing today will understand that the tribe is seeking fundamental justice here.”

Native Americans say the pipeline threatens sacred sites and drinking water resources, and that no meaningful consultation took place. The Army Corps of Engineers disagrees. During the court hearing, the agency said the tribe declined to be part of the process. The tribe in turn said they didn’t want to legitimize a flawed process. The company building the pipeline, Dakota Access, says the project is safe and will benefit the region and boost energy independence. They have, however, agreed to stop construction in that area of North Dakota until the court rules on the injunction.

The hearing in D.C. comes about a month after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Corps over the permits the Corps gave to the developer, Dakota Access, to build on an area roughly half-mile north of the reservation, and through the Missouri River — as well as other federal waterways.

Many feel that America’s continued investment in antiquated sources of fuel is not worth the money. With European and Asian nations striving to become carbon neutral, with green energy sources, it is tragic that America is caught up in nostalgic energy sources. Over the past 30 years in American History we have not had the best track record of producing and distributing oil safely. Going back to the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in 1989, oil spills and oil related disasters have become a frequent narrative.

Actresses Shailene Woodley, fourth from right, and Susan Sarandon, second from right, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member Bobbi Jean Three Lakes, right, participate in a rally outside the US District Court in Washington. CREDIT: AP/MANUEL BALCE CENETA

Mr Fragoso continues with:

The Bakken pipeline is roughly 48 percent complete, officials said during the court hearing, and the line is scheduled to start delivering oil in January. Construction is ongoing almost everywhere else, though a small group of Iowa landowners managed to get a construction reprieve from state regulators Wednesday.

As the court hearing went on indoors in D.C., outside scores of mostly Native Americans from as far away as Arizona gathered in a packed rally that continued even after the hearing was over. Actresses Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley were part of the protest. Woodley, who has been protesting in North Dakota, is one of many celebrities that have over the past few months called along Native Americans for a halt to construction and a repeal of pipeline permits.

Comparable in size to the more-famous (but rejected) Keystone XL, the Bakken pipeline is slated to be the largest oil line coming out of North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, among the nation’s most active due to the fracking boom. The line would move up to 570,000 barrels of sweet crude oil daily through the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois.

The nearly $3.8 billion pipeline is slated to cross multiple watersheds in its more than 1,150 mile course. Aside from the alleged threat to sacred sites, critics say the pipeline brings the threat of spill damage to thousands of miles of fertile farmland, forests, and rivers. Federal agencies have said the Bakken Pipeline avoids “critical habitat.”

Most of the affected land is farmland, but the project does run through wildlife areas and major waterways like the Mississippi, and the Missouri, the longest river in North America.

Do you feel that with  America’s track record of oil related disasters , that we can trust private industry and government to manage a pipeline that runs across several major rivers and watersheds? If these areas were to become contaminated it could affect an area that stretches from North Dakota to Texas. Leave your thoughts below.


Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *