By now, you’ve heard of the North Dakota Access Pipeline and the controversy surrounding it.
In case you haven’t, there is a $3.8 billion underground pipeline being built across three states (ND, SD and IL) to transport massive amounts of oil every day.
Issues arose when the original path of the pipe was altered, and the reroute placed it near the water source of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Protests started back in April, but coverage fell through the cracks as mainstream media focused on the election.
Luckily, the protests were brought back to the forefront of media attention when Shailene Woodley was arrested while protesting the construction of the pipeline.
Since then, there has been significant push-back against Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the construction.
Now that it’s back in the news, and relentlessly so, it’s added some more substance to the arguments that have already been hot topics in this election, like the environment and social equality.
The primary environmental concern is that the pipeline would pollute the tribe’s water source if it were to burst and leak. Pipeline companies say that it is safer to transport oil by way of underground pipelines rather than by train or truck.
Safer, maybe, but what good is that information if and when the pipeline bursts and destroys this water source? Will the oil companies saying that pipelines are safer than trains offer any sort of consolation or solution? No.
On the other hand, it is no secret that, in this election, there have been racist and religiously intolerant comments and policies laid out by Donald Trump. So, why then is he leading in North and South Dakota’s polls?
According to the New York Times, as of Nov. 5, Trump is almost certain to get the electoral votes in North Dakota and South Dakota. There was a decline in Trump’s chances in mid-October, around the time the protests came back to mainstream media, and a slight rise in Hillary Clinton’s, but nothing that was truly damaging for Trump.
So have these protests done nothing to to change the climate of the election? Not exactly, there is history being made on the ballots this year because of this unrest.
There are now three Native American candidates on the ballots as party nominees. Normally, Native Americans are few and far between on the ballots, but in this area there are three.
This could allow them to have some say in where the pipe goes, or if it goes at all, if they win. Representation is what this country was founded on, and this is a truly amazing thing.
This pipeline is a blatant disregard to the rights of the Native Americans. If the pipeline isn’t safe enough to build near a city’s water supply, a church or a temple then it is absolutely not safe enough to build near a Native American water supply or their sacred grounds.
It is ridiculous to think that anyone thought this was a good idea, and that, if not for the rekindling of this impassioned flame, it might have happened without us ever knowing.