Dakota Pipeline Access

One important topic of interest and debate in United State's history is the North Dakota Pipeline. The pipeline plans on interfering with Native American sovereign land. This is between the Native American tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux, protesters, and the oil/construction company. On the opposing side, there is the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, and Dakota Access.

The protesters consist of Native American tribes and environmentalists activists, among others. There are over 300 tribes from 90 Red Nations protesting near the reservation at various locations. Protests often became violent, allegedly by protesters as well as police enforcement.

Harborfields Junior Lauren Banks said, “In history we learn all the time about how this happened but I didn’t know it still happens today.”

The tribes believe that the pipeline threatens their drinking water and cultural sites, as well as their freedom of religion.

The project was officially announced in 2014, and thus the Standing Rock Sioux protested. To this very day, protests continue in solidarity. The pipeline is supposed to go from the Bakken region in North Dakota all the way to Patoka, Illinois. Along the way, it is planned out to through South Dakota and Iowa. The overall purpose is to transport crude oil.

The original plan allowed for the pipeline to cross the Missouri river, however that plan wasn’t permitted because of the potential negative effects on the surrounding water source. It was then re-planned to go under the river, in very close proximity to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.  When they re-planned the pipeline, they didn’t make any conversation with the any of the nearby native tribes or take into consideration the tribe's sacred sites or culture. This is why, in summary, why tribes in North Dakota and environmentalists in Iowa began to protest.

Thousands of protesters have been standing up against the energy company and police. Police have been carrying weapons, grenades, and many other devices/ items in attempt to “hold down the fort.”

Harborfields Junior Gianna Masi said, “This is a powerful protest and its rightfully so. No one has the right to just take someone else's land.”

Last week, the developers were given a final approval from the army to lay the pipe and finish the end of the construction. the Dakota Pipeline stated that the US army corps allowed an easement for one mile underground that would allow its construction to finish.

However, almost instantly and a day later, a case was brought to court by the Sioux tribe members.  The federal judge in Washington D.C made a decision on whether to stop or continue the pipeline until a legal battle with the tribes are resolved. Monday the 13th of February,  the judge denied the emergency bid request to block the final construction in the Dakota pipeline and ended the temporary restraining order. However, the construction company was ordered to send weekly updates about the construction to the tribes when their land is being modified.

Harborfields Junior Lily Lockwood said, “That seems like a just resolution to me. Their restraining order wasn’t technical enough so the judge couldn’t have blocked the construction.”

However, all hope is not lost. The denying of the emergency bid was based on the fact that the oil was not flowing through the pipeline and the tribes claimed that the flowing oil would be an infringement of their religious rights, not the pipeline itself. The case was denied merely because of the fact that the oil is not flowing yet. The judge promised to rule on the religious based factor concerning the oil before the oil runs through the pipeline. There will be another hearing February 27th to attempt to block the pipeline.


Sarah-Elizabeth Leveque