Dakota Access pipeline: Economic Stimulant or Environmental Threatening?
by why.not.coconut on May 5, 2017 - 11:24pm
In his article “North Dakota Oil Pipeline Battle: Who’s Fighting and Why”, Jack Healy explains the issue surrounding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota and what are the different points of view about this project. The paragraphs below will summarize what he had to say on this issue.
This oil pipeline project encountered a lot of protestations since the beginning of its construction. The contestations came from the fact that its trail is supposed to cross the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes’ ancestral lands and to pass under the Missouri River.
The people fighting against this project are mostly from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Other indigenous have joined their fight. But they are not the only ones: some farmers are fighting to keep the pipeline away from their lands. Indeed, the pipeline’s path is planned to cross some of the farmers’ lands.
The opponents argue that this project is a “major environmental and cultural threat” (Healy). They are worried that the Dakota Access pipeline spills or even breaks, which could result into pollution of the North Dakota lands and of the Missouri River. Moreover, the Standing Rock Sioux state that the pipeline’s path would cross their ancestral and sacred lands (these lands are not part of their reservation).
On the other hand, the people who support this project argue that the Dakota Access pipeline would allow a safe carriage of the oil, stimulate local economy and create 8 000 to 12 000 construction jobs.
In my opinion, the battle of the Standing Rock Sioux is honorable. I stand by their side. I think the disadvantages of this project outweigh the advantages. Since when should we choose economy over ecology? Maybe my argument will sound poor to some of you, but let me explain what I mean by that. The project’s economic benefits will be of short duration compare to its environmental consequences. It will stimulate the economy, creates thousands of jobs and will satisfy the oil’s consumers. But in the long run, who will it benefits? Surely not the earth, since the extraction, the carriage and the consumption of oil is harmful for the environment. The problem with this is that we are living on the earth, and its problems are ours too. If the earth has “health” problems, so do we. As the Standing Rock Sioux said, the Dakota Access pipeline is threatening the environment. If it breaks or even spills, the short terms advantages will not matter so much compared to the long-term disadvantages. If the lands and the water are polluted with oil, it is our health that will be put at risk. I think that my worldview comes from the fact that education increasingly values the respect of the environment and that it motivates us to be eco-friendly. Also, we learned a lot about the indigenous community and how their lands were taken away. As a modern society, I think that we should not repeat our past mistakes and that we should not steal the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lands.
However, some would say that these lands are not part of their reservation, which is true. What do you think about that? Since these lands are not under the indigenous community authority, do you think that it allows the government to accept a project that would destroy and threatened their sacred lands?
Healy, Jack. “North Dakota Oil Pipeline Battle: Who’s Fighting and Why.” The New York Times, August 26, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/us/north-dakota-oil-pipeline-battle-whos-fighting-and-why.html. Accessed April 31st, 2016.