Dakota Access Pipeline


Lesley Cazares

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a controversial topic since 2015. Sioux tribe members and the government have continuously argued in court to stop the construction of the pipeline.

Many journalist have brought to light what Sioux members undergo when protesting the pipeline, making it evident that those who are in accordance with its construction only take into consideration the “benefits” rather than the detrimental consequences. The construction of the pipeline should be stopped due to the harmful effects it not only poses on the environment, but the potential threats it poses to the Sioux community.

According to the Washington Post the, “White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the president supported energy projects ‘like Dakota and the Keystone Pipeline, areas that we can increase jobs [and] increase economic growth.” With projects that cost over 3.8 billion dollars, the jobs they generate are beneficial to community members as professional, skilled, workers are sought for.

Although individuals would  have the opportunity to more jobs, creating an underground pipeline will eventually have its consequences. For years U.S environmentalist have been informing the public and our government of the detriments of global warming, and how in fact it is occurring. Creating a pipeline that carries crude oil to Illinois only harms our environment as the project would contribute to climate change by the methods in which the crude oil will be extracted.

In addition to the contribution to global warming, advocates for the pipeline have not taken into consideration the effects of potential bursting or damage of these pipelines. As it runs 1,172 miles from Bakken North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, and finally ending in Patoka, Illinois, the pipeline can affect various water sources.  These water sources included the clean drinking water that pertains to the Sioux community. With the refusal of the proposal to reroute the pipeline, it is evident that the lives, health, and well being of the Sioux community is unimportant as they are demeaned and not accounted for. Their well being seems to not be as important as that of other communities.

As the well, the well being of the Sioux tribe is not being taken into consideration, the Sioux continue to protest in order to maintain clean water sources and to preserve sacred burial grounds. Many argue that their protest is an excuse to be violent, however, their protest is not an excuse to perform “extremist” motives. The Sioux community have exercised their rights in a peaceful manner but have been met with violence from officials. This is evident through their withstanding of water canons, being pepper sprayed, and attacked with rubber bullets by law enforcement officials.

As a result, the construction of the pipeline should not occur because of the effects it can have on our environment and the Sioux community.

If the construction of the pipeline were to continue, there is no telling whether or not it can benefit or harm the US as either it allows our economy to grow, or destroys our natural environment. The controversy over this topic has caused many individuals to lose their rights because government officials were not in accordance with their protest. If individuals are being attacked for wanting to preserve the land and are having their rights taken away, what does this say for the future of those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights? As Americans, the Dakota Pipeline controversy has demonstrated that with little to no hesitation, our government is willing to take away what they so greatly profess: our freedom.