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Dakota Access Pipeline will endanger lives, ecosystem

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Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in the past six months, have protested outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and prevented the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The $3.7 billion project would allow 470,000 barrels of oil to travel between the oil fields in western North Dakota to Illinois per day, where it will be linked to other pipelines. The construction of the pipeline will provide 8,000 to 12,000 temporary construction jobs, but the potential environmental damage could threaten the water supply of many people.

A dangerous project

If built, the pipeline will stretch 1,172 miles underground. It will start in North Dakota and crossing southeast through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

There is a history of leaks that have wreaked havoc on the environment with man-made architecture, specifically pipelines for oil and petroleum. It’s no wonder that people who value the land have decided to take a stand against the construction.

Again the government has forced their fragile fossil-fuel infrastructures onto a community without considering the effects of building them. It’s never a question of “if” a pipeline will leak or rupture, but “when” and what comes next.

Following a storm last Friday in Milton, Pennsylvania, 55,000 gallons of gasoline from a ruptured Sunoco pipeline contaminated a creek, resulting in the closure of a nearby water treatment plant.

On Sunday, another oil spill forced the shutdown of a major 850,000-barrel per day pipeline in Cushing, Oklahoma, which caused crude oil futures to drop in percentage.

A trend of negligence is there. Yet, the government insists on funding projects that allow fossil-fuel infrastructures to be built near water sources and continues to eschew cleaner sources of energy.

While the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline began in April, the protest didn’t garner the attention it deserved until news of the clashes between police and protesters reached the media.

A total of 127 protesters were arrested, including actress Shailene Woodley, who was charged with criminal trespassing. Why does it take a celebrity for people to see that what we allow to happen to our environment now affects how we live in the future?

“This is an epic struggle,” said Amy Goodman, investigative journalist and “Democracy Now!” host, during an interview with New York Magazine. “It’s a struggle around climate change, renewable energy, native rights and global warming. It’s about water. The protectors — and that’s what they’re calling themselves, not protesters — have a mantra: Water is life. The pipeline endangers the water for 10 million people.”

How many pipeline accidents will it take before the government sees that not only they are ruining the environment, but also displacing millions of people as well as leaving them without water and land?

Say ‘no’ to the pipeline

While crude oil may be like a godsend to rich oil tycoons, it is a curse that affects everyday people who live on the land that the government seeks to dig up and bury poison.

The indigenous people are a large portion of the North Dakota population who will be affected by the pipeline, but they’re not the only ones taking a stand.

“This is an international movement for all indigenous people. The power of will is something that can’t be understated,” said Awwad Yasin, a Palestinian-American law student from California and a pipeline protester.

If there’s one thing to learn from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, it’s that the world we live in is ours to take care of, and those who value it have to take a stand. The rich don’t have to suffer through contaminated water and bad crops.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the countless protesters who are standing with them are fighting for their livelihoods, their right to live without the fear of ruptured pipelines and the threat of being uprooted.

Far be it from the government to deny them those simple rights.

Opinion Columnist Caprice Carter is a communication junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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