For several weeks, the Sioux Nation at Standing Rock, North Dakota garnered front page headlines across the world as they battled against the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Now, after a series of protests, the Army Corps of Engineers have announced that they will be looking for alternative routes for the $3.7 billion pipeline. As a result, the Standing Rock Sioux have won a major victory for their quality of life. Of course, while the protestors around the Native Americans proclaim a victory against fracking, the truth is that the development is a major win for the practice as a whole.
What’s the Dakota Access Pipeline?
If you’ve been largely skipping over the protests at Standing Rock, then you may not be aware of what exactly the Dakota Access Pipeline hopes to accomplish when it’s finally completed. Ultimately, the pipeline hopes to stretch more than 1,100 miles in order to connect North Dakota’s fertile Bakken shale formation with Illinois’ refinery system.
When it’s completed, not only will the Dakota Access Pipeline help deliver an influx of funds into the nation’s economy, it will actually reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the United States, because the pipeline will reduce the need to fuel transport trucks or railroads, ultimately doing its part to create a cleaner, America.
The Standing Rock Sioux aren’t interested in curtailing the production of the pipeline, they’re interested in insuring the Dakota Access Pipeline doesn’t impact their quality of life. That’s it.
The Standing Rock Controversy is Not About Fracking
The anti-fracking groups that have rallied around the Standing Rock Sioux have made the fight another battleground in their attempt to turn the world off from fracking. The truth is, the North Dakota Native Americans don’t really have a dog in the fracking fight. In fact, their only objection to the Dakota Access Pipeline was the path the DAP would take, not the pipeline itself.
Until the Army Corps of Engineers responded to a lawsuit from the Standing Rock tribe, the Dakota Access Pipeline was intended to pass underneath a dam at the Missouri River. Since the spot in question is not only sacred land to the Standing Rock Sioux, it’s also their primary water source. Let’s stress here once more that the Native Americans were not worried about fracking contaminating their drinking water, nor were they concerned about the pipeline’s construction in and of itself.
No, the Standing Rock Sioux simply took a look at America’s pipeline safety statistics and decided to err on the side of caution and insure that the Dakota Access Pipeline went another direction. Mark Ruffalo and Lady Gaga wanted you to believe the Native Americans were crying a single tear over fracking, but that’s simply not the case.
So, Why is the Settlement a Good Thing?
The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, should consider the end to the Standing Rock protest a huge win. Will it cost them more money to reroute the pipeline? Heck yes it will. And more than likely, whenever ETP picks a new route they’ll be hit with a fresh wave of protests. What they won’t be doing, however, is attempting to run their pipeline through the territory of a people who instantly engender feelings of utmost sympathy.
By accommodating the Native Americans of North Dakota, ETP can get back to work, and the people protesting their efforts will be forced to go back to using fuzzy math and overblown statistics to get their point across.