The Dakota Access Pipeline

The United States of America is the number one user of crude oil in the world, yet we only produce the third most amount of oil. We can’t keep up with the amount of energy that we use. In 2013, the US produced 7.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, but still had to import 7.7 million barrels just to meet consumer demands. There’s been a little over a 300% increase in the amount of oil produced in the North Dakota Brakken, but it takes so long to transport the oil where it needs to go. The idea to create a pipelines to carry the oil was safe and efficient and would be an economical win, if you will. Thus, a plan was born and it was known as the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

This plan has a 30 inch diameter pipeline traveling 1,172 miles, connecting North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. dapl-map-fullIt goes through four states: Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The website says, “Traveling through 50 counties in 4 states, the proposed route was carefully designed to transport crude in the safest, most efficient way possible.” I’m no engineer, didn’t even go to college, just a citizen with some common sense. Looking at this, I can tell that they are using the best plan to save money. They didn’t go around anything, and just kept it perfectly straight because bending the pipeline would add more supplies, thus adding on cost.

I’ve been through this project’s website and it has some pretty incredible stuff. Many people are against this project, especially the North Dakota part. I’m absolutely against it.

Let’s talk economics, shall we? The project website continuously spews it’s facts over and over again. It likes it’s numbers so much, it even made a chart.daplI actually really like this chart. I’ve read all the main pages and this sums it up so nicely. Before I go in depth on the economics, let me state that one company is building this pipeline. One. This operation will create roughly about 8,000-12,000 jobs during construction. Sure, it may be great if you need a job and are in a pinch. Maybe John could get his power back on with that money, or Jane could pay some debt or loans she has. Let’s be real, though. It’s only going to have 40 permanent jobs. It won’t even have the ones it currently has. No one to barrel the oil or get it ready for transport. All those are gone with this pipeline. We’re literally losing jobs because of this.

The next thing I see is the miles upon miles of construction. Quoting from the fact sheet: “Where possible, the pipeline will parallel existing pipelines, power lines, or existing roads. During construction, an additional 50-100 feet of work space is needed adjacent to the permanent 50 foot right-of-way.” For people living in rural areas, you get lucky with this. There’s plenty of space to work outside of the road. For the people in urban areas, good luck. I know that in my town, there’s not 50-100 feet to even work, let alone to have an additional 50-100 feet for equipment — and I don’t even live in a city. I can only imagine the hours upon hours of traffic people will be sitting through. I would definitely find at least three alternate routes to work.

I don’t live near where these pipelines are being placed, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to me, or to anyone who doesn’t live on the pipeline route, right? Wrong.

The company will insist that these pipelines are safe. They are not. Since 2010

High Country News Mapped 1,000 crude oil pipeline spills from Jan. 2010-May 2015

When these pipelines burst, it’s not just that we have lost oil. We lose animals, land, ocean, beaches, and plants. In the Santa Barbara oil spill, thousands upon thousands of gallons of oil went into a storm drain and flowed into the Pacific Ocean. Natural beauties of the world are dying and we are just watching. The coral reefs are dying. Dawn dish soap’s commercial is about cleaning ducks off with their soap after finding them covered in oil. That should say something right there.

There are renewable energies ready to go. We’ve got solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and so many more. I would even be happy if they just hired one hundred more people to monitor the pipelines and take care of it. Personally, I don’t like watching my planet die.

The main thing that gets me, and a lot of other people, especially near Standing Rock, North Dakota, is that they want to dig up graves to put this pipeline in. I don’t have religious views, but that doesn’t stop me from being respectful of other people’s views. Yet, DAPL does not seem to care. I feel like someone should remind them who invaded North America, but here they are wanting to destroy more land and precious things?

Tim Mentz, Standing Rock Sioux Member and Native archaeologist, was shown documents presented in court stating that there were burial grounds. One was a large stone showing the big dipper meaning that there was a highly respected chief/major leader buried nearby. Quoting from Tim Mentz, “[Dakota Access Pipeline] consultants would have had to literally walk directly over some of these features. However, reviewing DAPL’s survey work, it appears that they did not independently survey this area but relied on a 1985 survey.” But wait a minute — On the DAPL website, it states, “In order for DAPL to meet the Federal and state requirements to route, design, construct and operate a pipeline, we are required to gather civil survey, cultural, environmental and other data.” Okay. Failed step one. In less than 24 hours after the evidence of the burial sites was presented, DAPL decided that their best course of action was to start construction on those exact burial sites!

Who does that?

What if the pipeline went straight through the any one of the civil war cemeteries or just a marked cemetery in general? How many people would be protesting then? I looked into what they were actually supposed to be looking for in the surveys, “The cultural survey will include archaeologists searching for evidence of artifacts, burial grounds, and other historical sites.” Literally, they missed all of those things in Standing Rock. It’s very clear they did not do the required survey. Because they didn’t do the survey, I don’t believe that DAPL has the right to get angry and frustrated over people protesting the removal of the burial sites.

Like with every protest, police presence was requested. Police responded to the peaceful protest with not only showing up in riot gear, pepper spraying protesters, aggressive arrests, and with tanks.

A protester that was arrested and had numbers written on his arm.

My main question is: who brings tanks to a protest? Apparently, the Morton County Sheriff’s Office. They’ve arrested at least 261 protesters, knowingly not having the room to keep said protesters. So, they wrote their arrest number on their arms and kept them in dog kennels roughly about 10 foot by 14 foot. Arrested protesters said it was similar to concentration camps. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier claims that these allegations were not true, but refused to let reporters inside to see where the protesters were being held. A spokeswoman later sent a photo of the kennels where the protesters were kept. The Morton County Sheriff’s Office is now under investigation by the UN.

As of right now, DAPL has been cleared to continue construction. Should this pipeline be completed, if it bursts, it will contaminate the Missouri River nearby and it will no longer be a valid source of drinkable water. The pipeline should be stopped especially on the grounds that DAPL violated the requirements by not doing a survey. To those protesting, please be safe. To those at home, please stay informed. There’s no reason that people’s health and well-being should be placed at risk for the sake of a pipeline that could rupture at any moment. An old Cree prophecy once said, “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”


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