Though the election and its results have dominated the news, protests are still ongoing about halting the construction of an oil pipeline through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
While the news has been overlooked or made passing coverage to the protests, you might have seen Facebook friends checking in solidarity with those protesting in Standing Rock. But some still don’t know what is going on and what exactly the protesters are protesting against. Here are a few things to know…
The US Army Corp of Engineers approved Energy Transfer Partners the ability to construct an oil pipeline to transport oil 1200 miles east starting in North Dakota’s Bakken oil field to a refinery in central Illinois. It was projected that the pipeline would end up transporting 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The protests first started gaining attention in August, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe started an ongoing protest camp called Sacred Stone back in April. There are more than 200 tribes actively protesting in North Dakota along with non-Native people supporting the protests. Since August more than 470 protesters have been arrested.
The constructing of the pipeline created two major concerns. Environmental concerns include possible contamination if there are leaks or a pipe burst as well as the potential harm on climate with possible greenhouse gas emissions. The second concern is the cultural impact and by building the pipeline it would disrupt the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Because of the protests, the construction of the stretch of pipeline that would run under the sacred land is at a standstill.
The White House has yet to make a decision on whether construction of the pipeline will continue under Lake Oahe that spans across South and North Dakota. President Obama has said that he and his team have been looking into rerouting the pipeline away from the Standing Rock Reservation, but as of now no announcement has been made. If the Obama administration keeps the pipeline from continuing the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is confident that under the Trump Administration the building of the pipeline would continue.
As protests continue to go on until a decision is made, other cities are supporting the efforts in Standing Rock. November 12 saw a protest in Tacoma, WA protesting the environmental and cultural impact of the construction and more cities are planning to protest in the days to come.