Pipeline endangers earth

By Maddie Steen

Before our planet’s natural resources begin to diminish, students need to turn their focus toward saving our environment and protecting our clean water by supporting the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The 1,172-mile pipeline being built by Energy Transfer Partners, Texas-based natural gas and propane company, will carry up to 470,000 barrels of crude oil each day from North Dakota to Illinois, according to the Dakota Access Pipeline website. While the pipeline could be beneficial to some Americans, it could also be extremely detrimental to the water supply and the sacred ground nearby.

Pipeline negatives

Even though the pipeline does not lie on the land of a reservation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is in major opposition of the pipeline. If the pipeline is finished, it will disturb a sacred burial ground that was promised to the tribe during the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851; if it ever bursts or leaks, it has potential to contaminate the water of the Missouri River—a main source of water for the tribe and thousands of other people, according to an Environment and Energy Publishing article.

Anthropology Professor Emily McKee, who is interested in water conservation, believes it’s the convergence of many issues that has brought so much attention to the pipeline protests. People may be more concerned about the environmental impacts of the pipeline, the water supply and how the pipeline may affect the water , McKee said.

Builders of the pipeline have assured the technology used is among the newest and safest and there should be no worry about it rupturing. From 2010-15, however, there have been 3,783 pipeline incidents throughout the country, and in 2016, there have been 511 incidents, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration website.

Clean drinking water is a basic human right. If Native Americans are out protesting to protect our water, everyone needs to stand in solidarity with them and fight for what belongs to all of us. Students need to be concerned with the land, as well as the water, indigenous people’s rights, oil pipelines and the oppression of another racial group.

Public knowledge and support

After surveying 50 students, I found about 91 percent were aware or had at least heard of the pipeline and protests. However, not many had been following the subject too closely. While I’m glad people may know about the controversy surrounding the pipeline, I think it is important everyone do more to actively support the protests.

“I think students need to care because we are the generation that is more likely to work towards making the changes needed to fix our environment and the injustices that have been placed upon certain groups like the Native Americans,” said Tyler Martin, senior Community Leadership and Civic Engagement major.

The protestors need our help. If students want to take action, there are options besides Facebook. Checking-in on Facebook may show you support protestors, but it does not do much else.

Stand up and fight back and make our voices heard, not overlooked. Students can support the camp and the protestors by donating needed items, contributing to their legal defense fund or to their GoFundMe page by searching “Fund Standing Rock.”

This past weekend, I was in Chicago and went by a rally that was held at the Chicago Federal Center Plaza on 50 west Adams St. in Chicago. I also donated a bag of supplies to the cause.

If students don’t have an opportunity to go to North Dakota and stand with the protestors, then we need to do what we can to show them our support, despite not physically being there.