The Dakota Access Pipeline is a nearly 1,200 mile long pipe that would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily from a hydro frack site in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to an existing pipeline in Illinois.
Part of the pipeline passes through the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Over 100 Native American tribes have joined in protest with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to protest the pipeline’s construction. They’re concerned about probable pipeline leaks contaminating their water source, as well as the desecration of ancient burial sites.
Since 1995, there has been over 2,000 significant pipeline leaks in the US, often contaminating water sources. The National Environmental Policy Act, passed in 1970, ensures the government must consider environmental impacts before building federal projects. Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit in July against the group building the pipeline, the Army Corps of Engineers, claiming they had wrongly approved the pipeline without consulting the tribe, and that Dakota Access pipeline violates both the NEPA as well as the Clean Water Act of 1972, because it would cross 200 sources of water, including the tribes only source of water, the Missouri River. In early September a federal judge rejected their order to stop construction, but the Obama administration ordered a halt on construction around Lake Oahe. Nevertheless, the construction company continues to bulldoze sacred Native American burial grounds.
What’s really at the crux of all this though is that the Dakota Access Pipeline goes through Native American lands that were established in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. Building through their land is illegal. Should President Obama speak up and ensure the treaty is not violated?