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Why The Struggle Is Bigger Than One Pipeline: Oil Company Lied About Safety of DAPL

The Dakota Access Pipeline has exposed a harsh reality many were unaware of or attempted to ignore: U.S. oil interest and government co-conspirators will bulldoze over any and all obstacles standing in their way of collecting billions from exploiting fossil fuels.

While the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and thousands of supporters across the country, have vehemently protested the 30-inch pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners have, without blinking, stolen land from private landowners, ruined ancient Native american burial grounds, and put hundreds of waterbodies in harm, including the Missouri River water source of the tribe.

The people of Standing Rock have even filed a lawsuit to halt the construction from further damage, as has one of the South Dakota Native American nations and landowners in Iowa. Meanwhile, other members of the camp have taken nonviolent actions, locking arms around construction machinery to stop the digging. Many have been arrested as a result.

“As demonstrators came to stop the tractors, they had encountered private security armed with pepper spray, attack dogs, and zip ties. Warriors on the front line were attacked for protecting the land and water,” a man present at the protest wrote. “Pregnant women were maced, young children and horses were attacked by dogs … the water provides life for the animals, the crops, the land, and millions of people.”

Protestors have been met with vicious attack dogs, the National Guard, cops whisking them off to jail, and more. The crisis has drawn national and international attention, and has even exposed some dirty truths regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), including their lengthy history of abusing the rights and property of Native Americans.

Over 1,200 archeologists, museum directors, and historians wrote a letter to President Obama regarding the intentional destruction of the tribe’s ancient burial grounds. Energy Transfer Partners argues the construction of DAPL is a safer alternative than transporting oil via rail, cars, or trucks, however.

“Monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, including rigorous pipeline integrity planning and maintenance, federal statistics show that underground pipelines transport crude oil more safely than ships, rail, or trucks,” the company’s site explains.

If you read between the lines of this statement, you will find that, while the frequency of pipeline spills are less than that of rail or truck spills, pipeline spills are bigger—and much more detrimental.

Oil trains in the U.S. spilled more frequently than any other transportation method recorded in 2014. And in comparison to pipelines, rail incidents occur more frequently, outnumbering pipelines two to one from 2004 to 2012. And while this data could be used to argue the use of pipelines, it would only make sense if it were used to discuss frequency of accidents. When arguing what poses a greater risk to human health, pipelines, which release massive amounts of oil into the environment with every spill, are the greater evil.

U.S. pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as trains over that eight-year period, despite the fact that the incidents were much less frequent. In 2010, 800,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, which took four years to clean up, and over 40,000 gallons of oil from the Bakken fields spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana in 2015, which ruined the drinking water for the entire town of Glendive.

But pipeline companies aren’t going to harp on that public information, because they hope their misleading statement will simply do the trick to keep you from joining the protest. But their failure to present the facts is pure negligence, and proves their immoral motive to begin with. Energy Transfer Partners, and those who will make a healthy chunk of change from the DAPL construction are lying, and they’re being reckless about it. The fact of the matter is, pipelines are more dangerous than rail cars or trucks. So why ruin a tribe’s livelihood over it? Why damage the environment over it? Why harm human health over it? Greed.

The focus ought to be on transitioning toward renewable energy, rather than fighting over fossil fuels. We have the technology. The free market is working to make it possible. Yet dangerous powers are holding our planet and our people back from what makes sense.

If you wish to help or to make your opinion heard, you can reach out to the following people:

Joseph White Eyes 605-230-0812

Michelle Cook 914-334-0888

Carolyn Raffensperger 515-450-2320

Alexa Erickson
Inspired by balance, Alexa finds that her true inner peace comes from executing a well-rounded lifestyle. An avid yogi, hiker, beach bum, music and art enthusiast, salad aficionado, adventure seeker, animal lover, and professional writer, she is an active individual who loves to express herself through the power of words.

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