BY AICHA BELABBES ’19 & RAVEN GEIGER ’17
Under the new Trump administration the fight against the Dakota Access Pipe Line has become a grueling uphill battle. Even though the Army Corps of Engineers refrained from building the pipeline under former president, Barack Obama, President Trump wants to go full-steam ahead. In fact, President Trump has investments in the pipeline. The main concerns with this pipeline, such as, drinking water, climate change, indigenous rights and protecting sacred cultural sites — the Sioux reservation burial grounds and other ceremonial grounds being among those — are still issues that have not been solved.
The more of these pipelines that are built, the harder it is to be less dependant on the fossil fuel industry. The pipeline will release more carbon into the atmosphere and keep fossil fuels in production for a long time. This pipeline does not comply with the Paris Agreement the goals of which are unattainable for a livable world for many. While the rest of the world wants to move further into a world run by renewable energy, the fossil fuel industry and DAPL want to hold the U.S. back. If we allow these pipelines to be built, we will be taking more than a few steps back in preserving our natural world.
Crude oil pipelines such as DAPL are prone to leaks because the crude oil is thick and sticky. Sunoco Logistics, the company that is building the pipeline, is notorious for its spill record. The pipeline is ill-fated from the start because it is being built by the company with the worst spill record. Additionally, the company has already admitted that it cannot pay for full cleanup in case of an accident. This statement means that if there were to be a leak, the Native American tribes parts of the pipeline would be victims to a large-scale oil spill.
Stopping this pipeline may be one of our last chances to get it right on behalf of Native Americans and to get it right for the planet. Once there is a leak, it cannot be undone. For Americans, this is your chance to be on the right side of history for Native American people. This is also a chance for everyone to get it right for Mother Earth.
One of the most powerful things you can do right now to get involved is to donate to the water protectors and to divest your money from the 17 banks that support DAPL — including TD Bank and Citibank.
The water in the U.S. is being attacked on all fronts by corporations who want to build pipelines, by DAPL and the government who thought that saving money by re-routing water through lead pipes was a good idea. The most public case of this is Flint, Michigan, a poor city with a large African-American population. A generation of children was poisoned, and there is no cure for lead poisoning. What happened in Flint shows the direct aftermath of what could happen to the Sioux tribe in North Dakota if DAPL is built. However, the damage that was done to Flint can never be taken back, but we can still prevent a similar tragedy in North Dakota.
What happened in Flint is a clear warning sign that something must be done to stop these horrors. The populations affected by water access problems come from historically marginalized groups. While DAPL has been covered in the media with more regularity than Flint, Michigan was, this does not mean that the fight is not as hard or that the issue is solved. It still seems that DAPL is on track to be built.
DAPL is about preventing the construction of a new problem, while Flint is about fixing a problem that came into existence because of lack of prevention. Both are hard fights that need all of the power they can get. Both are worthy causes. We have the power to stop DAPL and solve the water crisis in Flint. Not only do we have the power as a society, but we have the obligation as an ethical and moral society.