The DAPL Fiasco
So let’s first understand the reason people are in favor of this. Simply put, the Pipeline would reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce oil prices for some areas. The pipeline is also an infrastructure project which benefits several American workers.
Let me count the reasons...
There are two reasons why this pipeline has become controversial over time. The first and longest standing criticism of the Pipeline is its effects on the environment. The pipeline itself is 1,100 miles and would require substantial land development and deforestation to be completed. On top of this, the potential for spills and pipe bursts have been the point of concern for environmental groups who have been outspoken critics of the construction of the pipeline.
The second, and the more controversial issue at this point, is the claims made by Native American Tribes and other groups that state that pipeline will occupy land not permitted by the people. Currently, Federal U.S appeals courts are looking the legality of the pipeline, with multiple challenges by the standing rock tribe, citing violation of multiple federal statutes. Additionally, Standing Rock has expressed concerns regarding their environmental and economic well-being. Since the pipeline would be built on land important parts of land, including Lake Oahe, which is considered both a vital part of the tribal economy as well as religious grounds deemed sacred to the community.
While the legality of the pipeline remains to be determined, many media outlets are covering the protests opposing the pipeline as well as the response to those protests from North Dakota Law enforcement and Energy Transfer Inc. Protests have been occurring for weeks with responses from police and private security hired by Energy Transfer Inc. Protests have been marked by violence with those defending the pipeline using tactics such as Dog Attacks to water hoses to deter protesters. Some protesters have even been arrested for inciting riots, including notable actress Shailene Woodley, who has joined the protest along with a list of other notable celebrities including Jason Mraz and Susan Surandon.
It is important to look at all factors in a story like this one because it can become easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of the story without hearing the full facts of the case. I can see the benefit economically from a project like this if you’re looking at it from an investors prospective. You have a project that will hopefully save the taxpayers money by reducing the cost of oil, specifically by constructing a more efficient method to transport it.
While the response to the protests from law enforcement and ET have been aggressive to downright vicious in some cases, that is not really the issue for me with this. In fact, the issue for me isn’t even whether or not the tribe has legal standing to contest the building of the pipeline even though that is the crux of the story. My real issue with this the continued reliance on fossil fuels and the influence this industry has on the market. It is interesting to see that media outlets have been covering protests and many independent outlets are standing with the protesters, yet there have been concentrated advertising campaigns to suggest that the Standing Rock tribe has no legal basis to oppose the pipeline (which they do).
I am reminded of the ad campaign to block relief funds for Puerto Rico during their debt crisis. And the ad funds were paid for by the hedge fund group that, in essence, owned the Puerto Rican debt.
When it comes to the nation’s energy sources as a matter of infrastructure building, the United States and other energy corporations should be looking into investing in renewable/clean forms of energy. For example, the focus of Donald Trump’s plan to increase the number of jobs should not be to bring jobs back, like coal and automobile worker, but creating new jobs like building solar panels, windmills and hydro-electric turbines. The problem is that corporations are obligated to protect their bottom line no matter how damaging it may be to the greater good of the country.