Dakota Access Pipeline and indigenous people

Within the last few weeks, a significant amount of attention has been focused on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline was approved publicly in July 2014, and is currently under construction. It will run under the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois to transport oil.

Since the Industrial Revolution, oil has been one of the top resources around the world to help power the new technology. The pipeline seems to be a good idea when talking about profit and revenue, but that is not the main reason protesters are voicing their disgust.

The pipeline will, like others, affect the environment and climate change, but most importantly the lives of indigenous people living in reservations. Though the oil is said to be light, the oil could ruin the water used by residents. Another problem is that sacred grounds will be destroyed by the pipeline and its construction.

Since then, protesters from everywhere gathered on the sites to explain why this should not happen. Several petitions have circulated, and some celebrities have shown their support for the residents. Divergent actress Shailene Woodley was arrested on-site with criminal trespassing on Oct. 11 to protest the pipeline.

This has garnered attention from people not only in the area, but across the nation. Though it was later debunked by police officials, hundreds of thousands of people across the United States checked in at Standing Rock Indian Reservation on Facebook last week in an effort to prevent local law enforcement from tracking protesters on social media, according to CNN.

It begs the question why nothing is really being done about the pipeline, knowing it could harm the environment and the reservations’ residents’ everyday lives. According to the Seattle Times, a new route proposed by President Obama is now under review. While this is an improvement compared to the original route, why did it take so long to even compromise on such a controversial project?

Like almost everything in life, money and economic prosperity are the driving factors that can make anyone, to a point, disregard the well-being and safety of others. Though the pipeline has finally been accepted by compromise, there is no guarantee that others in the future will catch on soon or at all to future instances just as this.

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