Environmental Justice And Dakota Pipeline Protest

dakota pipeline

Starting as a small protest by environmental activists, the North Dakota caught the attention of the world by turning into a global protest. The demonstration was against the Dakota Access which is a 1,200 mile pipeline starting from Bakken oil fields into Illinois, a fossil fuel project which was rejected by Obama administration following the opposition from landowners and environmentalists. Though, the Dakota Access has been stopped, yet the future is uncertain. Remember neither is it the first of pipeline project constructed after Keystone nor are these the first of Native Americans opposing the move. The landowners have been fighting against it for well over a year and American Indians in thousands have raised their voices against protecting their drinking water and this is when the world took notice.


The pipeline protesters found the same spirit in the water protectors especially after the reports expose that pipeline has to cross the Missouri River at various levels and 10 miles Bismarck upstream. Standing Rock people depend on Missouri River for the purpose of potable water, fishing and irrigation. The pipeline was diverted into the Standing Rock reserve about 3,572 square miles which is where more than 8,200 people live and most of whom are below the poverty line. The previous route was rejected due to factors like chances of a leak contaminating the drinking water of Bismarck.

The emergency recommendation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two other federal agencies forced the US Army Corps of Engineers to approve the pipeline in the month of July. A video on the social media sparked the awareness on the Dakota Access in August. The video post was on a demonstration conducted on horseback calling ‘war whoops’. The law enforcers immediate reached the spot for the safety of the embankment. This is a stunt demonstration similar to the Battle of Little Bighorn. Later videos of private security agents attacking the demonstration were taped.

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