An Update on the Dakota Access Pipeline
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On December 4th, former President Barack Obama blocked the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction, but with the election of President Trump, the project has resumed by Executive Order. Protesters who had reunited in full force to object to its construction cited the threat it poses to the environment and the detriment it would have to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s sacred sites. But they were cleared out after the President’s order was executed.
The nearly completed pipeline is not built on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, but the tribe argued that even though it isn’t on their land, it would contaminate their drinking water if the pipeline malfunctioned. It would also disrupt the sacred burial ground of the tribe’s ancestors. The decision to continue construction lay ultimately with the Army Corps, who were looking for an alternative route for the pipeline before Trump’s Executive Order. This order cleared roadblocks, and though it did not order the construction to resume, it urged the Army Corps for a quicker response regarding the final path for the pipeline.
Supporters of the Dakota Access Pipeline claim it will bring as many as 12,000 temporary jobs and boost the local economy. In addition, it will be a more efficient and cost-effective means of transferring crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, and cut down on pollution during transportation. But, with the recent malfunction of a pipeline close to the Dakota Access , many still argue that pollution is a very real possibility. The company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, does not have the best record when it comes to pipeline spills, with a reported 42 oil spills in the past two years.
Many accuse Trump and his advisers of not paying enough attention to environmental issues, especially with recent actions taken by the government. Trump reduced the budget for the EPA by a third, and signed an order to dismantle current environmental protections.