"In a case of dissension, never dare to judge till you've heard the other side." -Euripides
BY: TOMMY PALUMBO, ALEXANDRA CATANZARITI AND CASS MURATORE
Synopsis Of The Pipeline
The $3.7 billion project, formally known as the Dakota Access Pipeline, would connect four states through an underground oil pipeline. Dakota Access, LLC, funds the project and the US Army Corps of Engineers gave the green light for construction of the pipeline.
Depending on who you ask, this pipeline will be an economic boom or an environmental disaster. Conflicts surrounding the pipeline are not only in regards to politics or legal issues. The central reason behind protests at Standing Rock is in regards to protection of land, water, and religious grounds.
Below is visual aid to help understand the key take aways of the Dakota Access Pipeline issue.
Figure 1: Visual Design Inspired By WeLoveSoLo
How Geography Is Playing A Role
The 1,172-mile pipeline would begin in the Bakken Formation, an oil-rich deposit where Montana and North Dakota meet Canada. The oil potential in the Bakken Formation is colossal.
Researchers have calculated there are 7.4 billion gallons of untapped oil. Once operational, the pipeline would shuttle 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day. To put that in perspective, that’s enough oil to make 374.3 million of gallons of gasoline per day (Energy Transfer Partners).
The oil from this region would then be transported to an oil tank farm not far from Patoka, Illinois. Once in Illinois, the oil will be shipped to nearby markets and refineries.
Understanding Figure 2
- Grey Stars: Symbolize the home of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as well as the Bakken Formation.
- Green Star: Symbolize Patoka, Illinois
- Blue Circles: Symbolize the nine major intersections between the pipeline and rivers.
Figure 2 visualizes the data from Energy Transfer Partners and Environmental Concerns
The tribe argues that the intended pipeline would cut through a section of land that is the home of sacred sites and burial grounds. The Sioux also mention that Dakota Access first planned a route north of the reservation. But it was rejected because of the short distance between the pipeline and the state capital’s drinking-water wells.
Technically, the land in question isn’t actually a part of the reservation. But Sioux argue that over the past 150 years, their land has been stolen from them. Therefore, the construction work implemented to build the pipeline could potentially damage these sites.
Standing Rock Sioux Impact
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has sued the US Army Corps of Engineers citing the pipeline "threatens the Tribe's environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe." (District Court Pleadings).
Some notable supporters include Senator Bernie Sanders and actress Shailene Woodley who live-streamed her entire arrest while protesting at the reservation. Throughout the Summer and Autumn of 2016, protest turned violent when law-enforcement regularly used brutal tactics (tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets) to deter the protesters.