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The Dakota Access Pipeline: Why It Matters and What You Can Do Now

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stockton chapter.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a big deal lately, but why? Let me show you. The Dakota Access Pipeline, according to the official facts on DAPL’s website, is “a new approximate 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipleine that will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.” It has recently been announced that the Obama Administration halted the construction of the pipeline; however, no one is talking about the fact that they are looking into relocating. This will be a problem in the future. 

Constructing this pipeline anywhere will ruin precious land and organisms that live within the demolition course. Sure, after the pipeline is constructed the land will be “restored” from the trenching that had to be done. The sad reality is once the pipeline is in place, there is a large chance it could burst, which would force relocation for inhabitats of that area. Imagine being forced out of your home because of a pipe that was plowed into the soil that you spent your childhood playing on. It is not a pretty picture and it never will be.

Water contamination, oil leaks and spills will always be a foreseeable problem with the pipeline. The destruction of land and contamination of water were two of the major issues for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The pipeline was scheduled to go directly under the Missouri River. That river is where the tribe gets their main source of water. If an oil leak occurred in the pipeline, the water for the tribe would  no longer be drinkable. They would be forced to leave their homes. The Dakota Access Pipeline was also set to go through sacred burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestors.

Many protesters were brave enough to go to Standing Rock with picket signs and rally against law enforcement. Some even chained themselves to the construction equipment in order to delay production. Officials used tear gas, water hoses, rubber bullets, percussion grenades, and attack dogs on protesters. This being just some of the many brutal things that law enforcement had been doing to those who were trying to protect the Earth. Protesters of Standing Rock were never violent towards officials, they used peace to try and reason with the brutality that they were being faced with.

A lot of famous people were activits for Standing Rock, such as Shailene Woodley, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and more. Shailene Woodley frequented Standing Rock and became one of the many protesters that got arrested on site. She recorded the police taking her away and posted it on social media to further show the unnecessary cruelty law enforcement was demonstrating towards the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. Shailene also spoke at Environmental Media Association Awards, discussing what we can do as a society to make the environment better together and making her plea as to why the Dakota Access Pipeline must be stopped. 

Steve Udall once said, “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” We all need to start making plans to help benefit the environment. We need to start respecting our Earth and promote better environmental standards. We need to let our government know that we do not want any pipelines built anywhere. We need to raise our voices and be heard about issues that matter. Our environment matters. You can always help out. Go online, do research, find out about organizations that are fighting for the cause. We need to keep fighting against major companies and stop them from destroying our land and polluting our water.

Although the Dakota Access Pipeline has officially been halted, we still have a lot of work to do. Besides the pipeline, our Earth is still becoming sicker by the second. We need to make a change in order to save our home. Whether it is walking instead of driving to a destination or taking a shorter shower, we all need to start working on the little things we do everyday in order to make progress. We only get one planet, one Earth. We need to take better care of it. Start with yourself. Recycle, use less water, carpool with your friends. You can be the change.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6