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An update on the Dakota Access Pipeline

by Kaylee Flores, staff writer

Photo courtesy of: Fibonacci Blue

The ongoing dispute between protesters and the Energy Transfer Partners over the Dakota Access Pipeline has received some more light in the media recently because it is an oil pipeline that will snake around Native American territory, possibly harming the surrounding environment.

The pipeline travels from North Dakota to Patoka, Ill. This pipeline will transport anywhere from 470,000 to 570,000 barrels of crude oil a day which could be used for gasoline, heating and many more uses. Once the local reservations had received notice that the oil pipeline would run through their clean water supply, chaos broke out. In May of this year, peaceful protests began.

Despite the protests being peaceful, there were many instances of police harming the participants as they attempt to move along with the pipeline construction. Through the use of social media, many photos and videos of the police misconduct have been publicized, causing the issue to become a source of national controversy.

These videos showed police using tear gas, forcefully grabbing protesters — including the elderly — using tear gas, and firing rubber bullets at protesters. The protesters, however, still continue to follow the pipeline, protesting against its completion.

This group of  protesters mainly consist of Native Americans from the major reservations and activists who strive to conserve nature. In more recent interviews, some local landowners have spoken out about the pipeline workers, that disposed of waste on the surrounding properties and enraging the landowners. The protests against the pipeline have gotten to the point of the protesters creating a lawsuit against the owners of the pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline would supposedly boost the economy due to this. However, there is still the constant worry of global warming. Even after the continuous protests, the views from politicians, and negative light in the media, the Dakota Access Pipeline still continues to be built.

History teacher Jason Van Benthuysen explained the pros and cons to the pipeline. “It (the Dakota Access Pipeline) definitely impacts the environment… the Alaska Pipeline was a solid investment and good for the economy…the parts I’ve seen are clean, not impacting the environment around it.” Benthuysen said.

The fight for the halt of construction for the pipeline was ended when the U.S. secretary of Army announced that the pipeline would not extend through the Standing Rock Reservation on Dec. 4. Now, those who follow the pipeline anxiously await for further news.