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Monday, December 11, 2023
The proposed route of the North Dakota Access pipeline would cut through sacred Native American lands. Thousands of protesters from around the country traveled to North Dakota to protect these lands. 

The proposed route of the North Dakota Access pipeline would cut through sacred Native American lands. Thousands of protesters from around the country traveled to North Dakota to protect these lands. 

Environmental issues remain important after Standing Rock Victory

Sunday, the Army Corp of Engineers announced that the North Dakota Access pipeline would not be immediately granted permission to pass through the Missouri River next to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

While today’s announcement that the pipeline will not immediately make forward progress around the Standing Rock reservation is a massive victory for those who have been protesting at the site, it is not a green light to let our guards down. The $3.7 billion project is not going to be forgotten. The environmental impact still remains and will not be lost just with a small remapping.

The North Dakota Access pipeline has subtly slipped under the radar of mainstream media. With the media frenzy caused by the election, the longstanding controversy surrounding the massive protests about the pipeline have been eclipsed in news coverage. However, it is important that the public be made aware of the pipeline and its potentially hazardous consequences, both environmental and otherwise.

For those who may not know, the North Dakota Access pipeline is a pipeline that is planned to transport oil from northwest North Dakota to Illinois. Conservatives support the pipeline because it could help the American economy and oil trade boom.

American oil production has spiked in recent years, which has increased global supply and dropped gas and oil prices. Despite the potential cheap gas and oil, the pipeline has raised many red flags for environmental activists, as well as for many Native American tribes in the regions surrounding the proposed pipeline.

The pipeline is mapped to pass directly through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where protests have erupted in the past few weeks. The people of Standing Rock, as well as others, are concerned with how the pipeline will directly affect the environment in which they live.

Many may think of the North Dakota Access pipeline—which is projected to carry as much as 470,000 barrels of oil a day—as unbreakable, but it is hardly that. Pipelines break, and there is the strong possibility that environmental damage could occur.

In some places along the pipeline’s length, it is within mere feet of major water sources, such as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. With the reservation’s close proximity to the Missouri River, the pipeline could easily contaminate the area’s water, which would lead to an environmental catastrophe. Such a contamination could lead to the harm of surrounding animals, crops and a lack of potable water for the people in the surrounding area.

On top of the dire consequences of water contamination, the pipeline threatens sacred sites of Native American tribes along its length. During our country’s history, we have treated Native Americans with abysmal disrespect. Instead of blatantly disrespecting their land and culture with a “not in my backyard” infrastructure project, we as a society should learn from our mistakes and focus on repairing our historical relationship with Native American tribes.

This announcement is a major victory for environmentalists, as well as for Native American tribes and allies. In order to make sure the pipeline goes forward with as little environmental impact as possible, we as a society must remain informed and knowledgeable about the situation.

While the mainstream media has not given this controversy the coverage that it deserves, we must go out of our way to remain informed. Without information and the facts, an environmental disaster could be built under our noses because of the greed of the American government.

Samantha is a sophomore majoring in communication arts and journalism.What do you think of the DAPL? Please send all comments, questions and concerns to

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