Have you seen the hashtag all over your timeline but can’t really explain what it’s about? Here’s a run down on everything you need to know about DAPL. As of July 27, 2016, that Sioux tribe of Standing Rock, North has been battling against the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Not only have they in a legal battle with the corporation, but they have also camped in front of the construction in protest to ensure the completed pipeline does not come into fruition.
The Dakota Access Pipeline was predicted to create around 8,000 to 12,000 local jobs, however, the Sioux tribe (and almost 100 different tribes that are also protesting the pipeline) believe that the endangerment of their tribe and the damage it will cause will have much more of an impact on their community.
The DAPL is a pipeline that will transport thousands of gallons of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. However, to do that they have to pass through Lake Ohae, a reservoir dam in North Dakota, and can potentially contaminate the water of the Standing Rock Native American Reservation. Also, the pipeline will have to cross through sacred Sioux territory, and mostly all the tribe members do not approve of its contraction.
In a way to protest the DAPL the members of Sioux tribe and their allies have set up camp in front of the construction site in attempt to hinder and completely shut down its furthering. As of now there are about 7,000 campers and the numbers are growing. Yesterday (December 1, 2016) there was a report that 2,000 US veterans have signed up to join DAPL protests.
In November, President Obama called for the postponement of the construction of the pipeline, which the Sioux tribe was very thankful for, however, that postponement was only temporary and since then construction has continued. There have been many people that have asked for Obama to completely cancel the construction, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (who ran against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic party primaries). As of now, he has made no further comment on the DAPL.
The US government has tried many things in order to get protesters to leave their site. There have been many cases of protesters being pepper sprayed, attacked by police dogs, shot with rubber bullets, and hit by non-fatal grenades. Recently, Sophia Wilansky was hit by a police grenade which blew apart her arm. She is currently in critical condition and might have to get her arm amputated.
Not only has the government attacked people on the ground, but they have also started to attack them by air. Protesters have reported that at night, there are helicopters that circle their camp ground with their lights off (which they are not permitted to do by law) and there has been a crop-duster that drops unidentified chemicals on their campground.
The governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple, has stated that protesters must immediately evacuate their campsites, however, no action has been enforced to carry out these statements. It was reported recently that people who delivered fines to the DAPL protesters would receive up to an $1,000 fine, however, Dalrymple has stated that there will be no roadblocks or fines put in place to prevent people from donating supplies to people located in the campsites.
So what does the future look like for the protesters?
Not very good.
President-elect Donald Trump (who will be sworn into office January 20, 2017) will probably be very hard on the DAPL protesters. This is because it has come out that he owns stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the main corporation in charge of the construction of the DAPL. So, unless President Obama can take some action regarding the construction of the DAPL, the protesters could be in some sort of danger.
As of now, the DAPL protesters have to find a way to safely survive the hard North Dakota winter, however, they do not seem willing to let it affect their protesting. If anything, they seem even more motivated by the support they have been getting from people not only in the US but internationally.
Written by Morgan Benson