i’ve just read about the dakota access pipeline for the past half hour, and here’s what i’ve gleaned from my limited amount of research on this issue, which is probably more than the average person has dedicated to the topic:
- the pipeline runs from the bakken oil fields to illinois to an oil refinery, which in theory should keep oil production in the US (a good thing for some people).
- the pipeline construction will create a lot of jobs along the way, though very specialized jobs, and not necessarily local to ND, SD, IA, and IL since those specialized jobs tend to not have the average unemployed joe or joette hanging around waiting for them. after construction, the number of permanent jobs the pipeline will create is pretty minimal – i’ve read between 10-30.
- the company constructing the pipeline went through the appropriate permitting and awareness process. there were townhalls a couple years ago and the army corps of engineers approved the route*. there was minimal representation from the american indian tribes at these hearings. no one voiced concern. (REALLY – this was the time to do this. not sure why this wasn’t a big deal THEN.)
- this pipeline was supposed to go through bismarck, but it ended up veering another way because *ahem* they were afraid of contaminating the capitol’s water if there were ever a spill. (*eyeroll* classic case of not in my backyard.)
- *so, the army corps of engineers may have approved this route, BUT, there were treaty laws and architectural remains (burial grounds, etc), that were not taken into consideration, so in effect, the ACE really didn’t follow some laws to get this route approved.
- construction started earlier this year, and protests started after people realized that the DAPL would be winding across the missouri river a couple times and over the burial grounds. and it’s just gotten bigger.
i didn’t do much research on the current state of affairs since we seem to be seeing that daily on our news feeds and through friends. here’s my take on that:
- keep these protests peaceful and LEGAL! from what i can tell, this is heading into violent and taking over private property, etc. if you want your concerns to be heard, you need to practice your first amendment right to assemble in a legal manner.
- speaking of legalities, why no one attended any of the hearings a few years ago when permitting was happening is beyond me. this is why people should be aware of what’s going on your communities.
- i don’t know what is going on with the army corps of engineers, but you’d think that a federal agency would figure pipeline construction that will ultimately engage eminent domain should follow all laws, especially when it goes over treaty land. they should’ve been on the ball with that one, and president obama has ordered to figure out what’s going on. i think a lot of blame (if you can call it that) lies on them.
- remember the locals – there are local american indians who are sick of the protests. make sure to take them into account.
- WATER IS PRECIOUS – in years to come, water will be more valuable than oil, especially if we keep placing possible environmental risks near it. also, my boss made a valid point the other day: there are pipelines carrying crude oil crisscrossing europe right now. but they are infinitely more stable and better constructed. (i can’t find a source on this and i don’t want to spend time to find it; we’ll just have to take her word on this.) we need to get on the bandwagon and think about how to construct things like this so that spills are very, VERY rare. if they happen at all. none of this lowest bidder crap.
BUT ULTIMATELY: if our energy source (oil) can screw up our life source (water) so much by a spill, maybe it’s time to take a look at changing our energy source. also, not only is the pipeline spill a possibility, but oil itself is no saint. i’d rather there be no pipelines anywhere and we all relied on renewable energy or something safer than oil (efficient ethanol sources, for instance, use water themselves – see sugar cane [not corn!!]).