The DAPL: What You Need To Know
An undercurrent "new media" movement - Facebook Live, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram - has thrust the #NoDAPL movement to center stage. There are currently peaceful protesters camping along the Sioux Standing Rock Reservation as the pipeline's construction continues, surrounded by militarized police. Their efforts to protect their water supply is being battered by mace, rubber bullets, and escalating tension. And why? Below, I have listed the what, who, where, and why of the #NoDAPL Movement.
What is the DAPL and what's going on?
1) If built, the Dakota Access Pipeline will stretch more than 1,100 miles from the oil fields in North Dakota to a river port in Illinois. It will transport approximately 470,000 barrels per day with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day or more.
2) The Standing Rock Tribe claims the pipeline could threaten their sole water source and that the tribe was not formally consulted before the pipeline was approved.
3) Their fight isn't only on the riverbank - it's heating up in court since July. Their defendant is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's legal team submitted documents to the court that has certified one of their main claims: that the pipeline will pass through and will likely destroy Native burial sites and sacred places.
4) Documents also provided evidence that state authorities missed or disregarded major Native archaeological discoveries in the pipeline's path. One archaeological find indicates the burial of a historically important chief.
Longtime archaeologist and Standing Rock Sioux member Tim Mentz stated to the Atlantic: "This is one of the most significant archaeological finds in North Dakota in many years...[Dakota Access] consultants would have had to literally walk directly over some of these features. However, reviewing DAPL's survey work, it appears that they did not independently survey this area but relied on a 1985 survey."
5) Within 24 hours of the evidence's submission to the courts, the tribe and its legal team reported that the Dakota Access company began construction on those exact sites - perhaps destroying many permanently.
6) As for the land itself - the region was historically accorded to Sioux peoples by the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. The exact appropriations go back and forth for several decades, with discussions continuing in 1980. Nonetheless, since 1992, all Native Americans were allotted the "right to be consulted." This means that whenever a federal agency undertakes or approves a construction project, it must consult with local Native nations or tribes. In regards to the Dakota Access Pipeline, this right was infringed.
"Only near the end of the process, when approval seemed inevitable, did North Dakota state authorities approach the tribe with a couple areas of concern."
7) If the pipeline ever broke or leaked, it could spill into the Missouri River upstream from the tribe's major population center. This is their only source of water.
And what are they fighting for?
1) Ruptures and leaks are a daily occurrence with crude oil pipelines. In the last five years, 80 people have died and 389 have been injured in such incidents.
2) According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these spills and ruptures released over 7 million gallons of crude.
3) One of the largest recent spills happened right near the Standing Rock Tribe - North Dakota, 2013. Lightning struck a pipeline and caused a leak of 840,000 gallons of crude. Major sources for spills are human error and natural phenomena.
4) Moreover, there are only 139 Federal pipeline inspectors to regulate over 2.6 million miles of pipelines - AKA 18,000 miles of pipeline per inspector.
Check out the interactive map below to learn more about when and where recent crude oil pipeline incidents happened.
What happens if there's a spill?
1) According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), spilled oil can harm living things because it contains poisonous materials.
2) The Nigerian Medical Journal has also found crude oil to contain radioactive material, known carcinogens, and trace metals.
3) Because oil doesn't dissolve in water, and coats the feathers, skin, and fur of mammals and birds. It can even cause the slow suffocation of invertebrates.
4) And lastly, the coutnry does not need anymore reliance on fossil fuels. We need investments in clean energy, such as solar and wind. Recently, several scientists petitioned the Dakota Access Pipeline and emphasized that further construction will be a detriment to the United States' commitments to the recent Paris Agreement: