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Why You Should #StandWithStandingRock

If you follow current events, you should have heard about the conflict surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Energy Transfer Partners. If current events are irrelevant to you but celebrities are your thing, then by now you should have heard about Shailene Woodley getting arrested at a protest of the Pipeline a little while back.

Just to catch you up to speed, the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a 1,100+ mile long pipeline that Energy Transfer Partners is fighting to connect from the Bakken and Three Forks in North Dakota all the way over to Illinois. The pipeline is being created to transfer crude oil in an attempt to reach refining markets across the two states which would enable about 500,000 barrels of oil to be transported a day (all of this info can be found here). This sounds like a good idea right? Sure — only it’s not.


First off, the pipeline, if successfully put in place, would run under ground. Not just underground, but directly under the Missouri River. Not only is this an extremely far route underground to drag thousands and thousands of barrels of oil every day, but it also threatens millions of people with water contamination. As you may remember, our country’s oil companies don’t have the best history keeping our waters clean (Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Lakeview Gusher, Gulf War Oil Spill…need we go on?)

If history serves as a prediction, there isn’t huge faith to be put in oil companies to ensure that the water will remain uncontaminated. Plus, our country does not have the greatest track record with fixing contaminated waters (Flint, Michigan is still without safe drinking water!). A report by the United States Geological Survey stated that, “ground water contamination by crude oil is a widespread problem.” EVEN OUR OWN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THINK IT’S DANGEROUS! Putting in a pipeline like this at a time when its presence is not necessary isn’t worth risking the drinking water for millions of American people.

Secondly, the pipeline cuts directly through more than a half a mile of tribal land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The tribe vehemently opposes this pipeline and has expressed that they do not want the pipeline to be built at all, let alone on their land. The entirety of the tribe’s water supply, along with millions of others’, comes solely from the Missouri river. Not to mention that originally the plan was set to run through the capital of North Dakota but was rejected as a potential threat to their water supply. That makes sense, right? How can it be okay to take away the potential of contamination in one water supply and bring it directly to another?

Further, building the pipeline on the land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe without their express permission infringes on the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, signed in 1851. The treaty was put in place exchanging Native American land for cash and goods with the agreement that the Sioux would retain land for reservations that they would gain complete control of.

So here it is: ETP is taking advantage of Native Americans and their land all to build a pipeline that could endanger our country’s citizens and infringe on a 150+ year treaty. Why? To move some oil underground when there really is no issue with the way it is being transported now.

If you agree that this pipeline is more of a risk than a reward, head over to Stand With Standing Rock’s website and take action. You can sign the petition, donate, even call the White House, to do your part — and while you’re there, you can read up on all the facts.

Senior, marketing major from Pembroke MA.  Marketing and PR Chair for Bryant's Her Campus chapter.  Loves sharks.   
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