Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests

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Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests

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Everything you need to know about the controversial oil pipeline that has become a rallying cry for indigenous rights and climate change activism:

The Native American protests against the Dakota Access pipeline have become an international rallying cry for indigenous rights and climate change activism, drawing thousands to the rural area of Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

As the controversial oil pipeline approaches the river that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe fears it will contaminate – and as a militarized police force continues to engage in tense standoffs with demonstrators – here is what we know so far.

What is the Dakota Access pipeline?

The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is a $3.7bn project that would transport crude oil from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota to a refinery to Patoka, Illinois, near Chicago.

The 1,1720-mile pipeline, roughly 30 inches in diameter, would carry 470,000 barrels per day and is a project of company Energy Transfer Partners.

Who is opposing the project and why?

The local Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of Native American supporters from across North America have set up camps in Cannon Ball to try and block the oil project. Opponents of DAPL say the project threatens sacred native lands and could contaminate their water supply from the Missouri river, which is the longest river in North America.

Activists call themselves water protectors and argue that the pipeline poses similar threats to the now defeated Keystone XL, but lament that DAPL has failed to garner the same amount of national attention. Tribal leaders also say that the US army corps of engineers’ initial decision to allow the pipeline to run within a half-mile of the local reservation was done without consulting tribal governments and without a thorough study of impacts.

This means, the tribe says, that the project violates federal law and native treaties with the US government.

Source: Guardian

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies have been protesting the 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline for months. The pipeline could both threaten their water source and destroy sacred sites. “Whenever there's a resource that needs to be exploited, our lands just kept getting taken,” says one member of the tribe in this documentary, Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock. Another adds: “We don't have any place else to go, these are our only remaining homelands. We have to protect them. Enough’s enough.”

This film was directed by Lucian Read of the America Divided series, with funding by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 Source: The Atlantic