Why Standing Rock matters
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has pledged its support for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, along with about 100 other Indian nations, as it protests the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
The $4 billion crude oil Dakota Access Pipeline currently being constructed is expected to stretch more than 1,000 miles from Illinois to North Dakota and would cross underneath the Missouri River at a location next to the Standing Rock Reservation. The Missouri River is the primary water source for the reservation.
The oil pipeline was originally planned to cross under the Missouri River just north of Bismarck, N.D., but concerns about a possible oil spill there prompted the pipeline company to reroute the pipeline to the location near the reservation.
The Sioux Nation, since April, has been rightfully concerned about the possibility of the oil pipeline contaminating their water supply - just as the people at Bismarck were concerned.
The Dakota Access Pipeline’s crossing of the mighty Missouri River must first be achieved by drilling directionally 90 feet below the river bed. Then, the pipe would be pushed through the hole. When completed, oil leak pipeline detection equipment with shut off valves on both sides of the river would be installed. The worst place for an oil pipeline spill or leak is anywhere 90 feet deep and under water.
Standing Rock tribal members have also reported that the pipeline construction has already damaged sacred burial sites, cultural artifacts and ancestral lands, which are located just off of the reservation boundaries.
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation experienced a small victory recently when the federal government announced it would review the pipeline’s access permit and consult with tribes on the permit process.
Oil pipeline companies must follow all the laws on the books just like any other business. If easements were not properly obtained, as has been claimed, then the project should be shut down, and forced to start over.
The oil pipeline wasn’t wanted at Bismarck, but it’s OK at the Standing Rock reservation? That doesn’t sound right.