By Logan Barragan
As the commotion of the election slowly begins to simmer down, the controversial construction of the North Dakota Pipeline becomes more prominent in national conversation. Everyone from A list celebrities, to politicians, to military veterans, to environmental rights activists, to normal civilians have an opinion regarding the North Dakota Pipeline. Earlier this year, actress Shailene Woodley was arrested in North Dakota under the charges of criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and stressed that her protests were peaceful. Woodley has brought a lot of attention to this issue, considering her popularity and social media presence The goal of Energy Transfer Partners, a partnership that owns and operates one of the largest energy estates in the United States, is set to build a pipeline that stretches 1,200 miles, traveling from North Dakota to Illinois.
In reference to the company’s website, the production will transport 570,000 barrels of oil, create 12,000 jobs, and it will be the safest method of transporting natural resources, according to the data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. With all of these positive statistics, it is a wonder why such a large group of people want the production of the pipeline to be re-directed.
The issue is this: the design of the pipeline shows that it would have to go through the Missouri River. This is a primary water source for its surrounding residents, such as The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who have called this area home years before this whole plan could even be a fathomable idea. Since spring of 2016, hundreds have gathered in protest of the pipeline and have been persistent in their efforts to encourage a redirection of the pipeline. While Energy Transfer Partners insists that the pipeline will not affect the water, there is no guarantee that the oil will not somehow find its way into the river. Environmental Activist Doug Hayes insists that if the pipeline in the river were to slightly break, nobody would know until the water is contaminated. One small leak could ruin the purity of the water and inflict illness on the many people who use it.
Nowthisnews.com asked President Barack Obama in a video interview on his opinion on the topic, and in summary, President Obama thinks that the land should stay sacred to tribes who initially inhabited it hundreds of years ago. But he also believes that there is a way to re-route the pipeline so the goal of transferring the oil can still be met. There was speculation that the Obama Administration had declared that the production of the pipeline would indeed be altered, however, according to CNN, Energy Transfer Partners has no intention of changing the production. Unfortunately, for Energy Transfer Partners, their construction will in fact have to be set back due to an oil spill of about 175,000 gallons that occurred early in the month of December.
This is a very controversial issue that has caused consistent uproar throughout the nation. With the jobs it offers and the efficiency it provides, the pipeline has great potential. But the toll it could take on the natives may be the downfall of its development. The final decision of any further construction of the project will be an interesting one. But one thing is for certain, whatever the outcome may be, it is clear neither side will go down without a fight.