If you’re on social media frequently, then you’ve probably seen the hashtag #nodapl trending or other posts relating to the topic. And if you were wondering, “What the heck does that stand for?” then you’re not alone. This is an important topic, but it is not being circulated through wide-stream media.
First, I decided to take a Twitter poll to see how many of my peers knew what the DAPL was and their stances on the issue. 30% voted that they did know about the pipeline and were angry about the situation; 6% voted that they knew about the pipeline and didn’t really care; but, a staggering 60% voted that they had no idea what the pipeline was whatsoever.
DAPL stands for “Dakota Access Pipeline,” a large underground oil pipeline that has been under construction in North Dakota for the past several months. Numerous Native Americans and environmental activists have been protesting this project since its inception.
“We will not allow Dakota Access to trespass on our treaty territory and destroy our medicines and our culture.”
There are various reasons why such a large population of people are against the pipeline. The transportation of crude oil, no matter what method, inevitably comes with possibly-harmful environmental factors. There is always a risk of the pipeline leaking (over 1 million barrels of oil have leaked from underground pipelines in the past 20 years) and potentially damaging the surrounding ecosystems, which brings us to one of the main reasons of the protest: water.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe lives on the land where the pipeline is being built. They fear that if there were to be a leak, it would ruin the water supply that their sacred land provides. Another cause of uproar is the fact that the pipeline is being built on land designated to the Sioux tribe by the United States government. In a statement released by the Standing Rock tribe, they said, “We will not allow Dakota Access to trespass on our treaty territory and destroy our medicines and our culture.”
Celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Shailene Woodley, and Willow and Jaden Smith (along with many others) have taken a stance and sided with Standing Rock and have even involved themselves in the protests.
The protesters, who for the most part have protested peacefully, are being met with what has been deemed as excessive force. Armed military have been placed to drive them out using devices such as sound cannons, which emits a powerful and painful noise that can burst ear drums. This has been another cause for anger.
Although there is all of these negative attitudes against the pipeline, you may be wondering: what’s good about it? The pipeline would transport millions of barrels of oil to be consumed by the US, thus making us more energy independent. That also means that billions of dollars will be involved.
So the underlying question is: do the costs outweigh the benefits? Which side are you on?
News Editor: Elizabeth Needham, Emanuel Abebe
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