Dakota Pipeline: Standing up for Standing Rock

Dee Fontanilla, Staff Writer

Out in the Midwest, American citizens have been fighting for their land since last January against the industrial dogs who could potentially poison them. Signs are held high, despite the tired stinging eyes and various bite wounds of the citizens.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, is a pipeline funded and designed by Energy Transfer, a company that designs and constructs natural gas pipelines throughout the country. If approved, the DAPL will go through land that is home to the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe. The DAPL would be constructed right over Lake Oahe, one of the major water sources for the nearby Sioux communities. This causes a lot of concern regarding the cultural and economical damage that the pipeline could cause if there were to be a spill. The Standing Rock Sioux began leading peaceful protests in hopes of stopping the DAPL. Recently, Energy Transfer has employed security guards to remove the protestors with methods that are inhumane. Protestors were sprayed with pepper spray and also attacked by dogs.

“I support the protestors,” junior Abby Denman said. “Oil companies have proven in the past [that they aren’t] reliable in keeping resources from being polluted.”

Oil companies have, historically, been at the center of quite a few controversial ecological disasters in the past such as the BP oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico.

“I honestly think that it’s disgusting, the way they have been retaliating against the protesters rather than sitting down and talking it out,” Denman said.

Some people believe that the actions of the company interfere with the rights of every citizen.

“I believe that everyone has the right to peacefully protest as part of the First Amendment,” senior Daniel Lee said. “Any actions taken by the company to snuff them out is opposing that right, especially in such violent manner.”

Technically speaking, Energy Transport can obtain the land that is owned by Standing Rock through power called “eminent domain.”

“The government [and some agencies, though slightly more restricted] can seize private land for the benefit of the whole,” social studies teacher James Smith said.

Hopefully, when the government reviews the benefits and consequences of the construction, they will find that it is not to the benefit of the whole to take this land from the Sioux for the DAPL project.