Everything You Need to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline

For weeks now, there have been protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the controversy shows few signs of going away. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project to build a 1172 mile-long pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois to transport crude oil to major refining markets in what is said to be a cost-effective and more direct way. Depending on who you talk to, the pipeline could be a safe and environmentally-responsible tool or a disaster ruining sacred Native American sites.

The pipeline is subject to start near the border of North Dakota and Montana, at the oil-rich Bakken Formation. Bakken has approximately 7.4 billion barrels of oil in its possession, enough to where 470,000 barrels of crude oil could pass through the pipeline a day, allowing for an estimated 374.3 million gallons of gasoline per day. From the end of the pipeline the oil could be sent just about anywhere across the country. While the project was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, not all are in agreement. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of both North and South Dakota protesting against the construction of the pipeline as it is projected to travel directly underneath the Missouri River—the main source of fresh water for the nearly 10,000 Standing Rock Sioux with a reservation in this area. The pipeline travels through sacred burial ground—a main concern of the Standing Rock Sioux—and as a requirement under federal law, the Tribe should have been asked to engage in the permitting process of this project. More importantly, no pipeline is guaranteed not to leak. There is the possibility of the Dakota Access Pipeline leaking into the Missouri River, destroying the clean water source thousands rely on.

The Standing Rock Sioux not only sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but have commenced marches, prayer-circles, and protests near and around the burial grounds. The protest has caused for the call of the National Guard and hundreds of arrests. In recent news, actress Shailene Woodley attended a march, standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Woodly posted a 2-hour long live stream as she walked with the Native American tribes protesting this project. During this live stream, Woodley was arrested for criminal trespassing while walking with a number of others who experienced no such repercussions. In her post she claims the reason they picked her out of a crowd is because of her fame and the thousands, now millions, watching.

Since Woodley’s arrest, the project has taken a bigger position in the media; not only through online and print newspapers and magazines, but also social media platforms. The goal of such opponents and supporters is to slow, and ultimately stop, the pipeline. There was a temporary block of construction in September in order to allow time for a review, however, the federal court allowed the project to proceed.

Ultimately, it is a matter of opinion whether the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa. So, it is up to you to decide. Are you for the Dakota Access Pipeline? How are you going to let your voice be heard?