Dakota pipeline endangers culture, environment

By Jady Ojeda

Staff Writer

Protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline began in April 2016 and Native Americans and activists have since continued to fight to have their voices be heard. As united Americans, it is our duty to stand against a project that hurts the culture of the native people, our environment, and attempts to amend historic mistakes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, on Jan. 24, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in favor of Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada, which are natural gas and energy companies, to approve the advancement of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline projects.

Despite numerous protests, on Feb. 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the last permit required to resume the construction projects.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is directly affected by the construction project that stretches from North Dakota to Illinois because it runs through their reservation land.

We cannot allow the Sioux Tribe to lose land that is crucial to their way of life for the economic benefit of private oil companies. We live in a country that proclaims to protect cultural and religious beliefs; however, these values are overshadowed by the economic greed of the multimillion dollar companies that are funding the pipeline.

Without taking into account the disapproval of citizens, Trump argues that the success of the Pipeline will produce countless of manufacturings jobs. But the creation of a few temporary jobs comes at the expense of harms to the environment that are very much irreversible.

PBS reported that the pipeline, which is supposed to lie 92 feet beneath the Missouri River, could contaminate the water supply while transporting 450,000 barrels of crude oil daily. This would endanger clean water and public health for both native tribes and local communities.

In fact, according to CNBC, over 176,000 gallons of crude oil spilled on Dec. 5 just miles from the grounds in which protesters were fighting against the pipeline.

CNN released a statement that the 1,172 mile pipeline project would cost the country $3.7 billion dollars to build, adding to the nation’s debt of almost $19 trillion. Federal funds should be spent on resources or construction that citizens will benefit from instead.

Regardless of the obstacles, protests against the project should continue. It is immoral to invade the territory that the founders of our country once stole from Native American tribes. We must make our voices heard and educate future generations of the destruction that self-serving corporate interests can have on Native Americans’ lifestyles and the environment.

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