Victory At Standing Rock: What You Need To Know
Let's face it, 2016 has been one hellava crazy year. But despite all of the political chaos that dominated the headlines, 2016 looks to be ending on a high note (fingers crossed, there's still a few more weeks to go). The Standing Rock Indian Tribe have been involved in a lengthy protest that has ended with victory. Here's what you should know about the recent events, and why the good fight is not over.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project proposed in 2014 that would carry 450,000 barrels of crude oil every day from North Dakota’s oil field 1,134 miles underground to Illinois, so it can be converted into usable fuel. It’s a $3.8 billion dollar project that would make it safer to transport oil rather than using trains, which could derail and explode.
So what was the problem?
#1. The proposed pipeline would have crossed Lake Oahe, which is the main source of drinking water for people of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota tribes. If a leak were to occur, their entire drinking supply would be contaminated. In fact, earlier drafts of the proposal had the pipeline crossing the Missouri River north of Bismark. However, it was rerouted due to complaints that the pipeline would threaten their drinking water. After an investigation by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers confirmed that these complaints were valid, the pipeline was rerouted. So why was the same consideration not given for the Sioux people? Why did they have to protest for months on end to have their voices heard? Why did so many have to be arrested? Why did so many have to be beaten down?
#2. The pipeline would have run through sacred land, literally unearthing remains of ancestors and destroying prayer ground. What right does the U.S. government have to destroy land that is not their own? Which brings us to…
#3. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 – this treaty, signed on September 17, 1851 between United States treaty commissioners and representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations is an agreement that the United States acknowledged that all the land covered by the treaty was Indian territory and did not claim any part of it. If it weren't for the protests, this agreement would have been ignored. Which gets us thinking - how many other things are being done by big oil and the government that is unjustified?
On December 04, 2016 the unexpected happened - the protesters at Standing Rock were victorious. Jo-Ellen Darcy, the U.S. Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, had announced that her department would not be approving the easement required for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue.
If it weren't for the moderate media attention that Standing Rock received, what would have been the outcome? There are native tribes all across the U.S. who are fighting against government development that will harm their sacred land. What about them?
The fight isn't over yet. There is still more to be done on behalf of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the many interests behind the Dakota Pipeline Project. Furthermore, President-Elect Trump supports the original route for the pipeline. He owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he overturned the decision. Only time will tell.
Read more about how big government overlooked human interests and safety in Flint, Michigan and how you can help.