I was asked by a friend why I was so passionate about the blocking of Dakota Access Pipeline. I’ll get to the answer, but first let us explore some facts.
There are 2.6 million miles of oil/gas transport pipelines in the US as of 2016 according to DOT’s (US Department of Transportation) Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration or PHMSA. Just how necessary is this added, rather redundant 1200 miles? Can we not make the other 2.6 million miles of pipe take up the slack rather than crossing and endangering yet another river, another wetlands and endangering another community’s water source? (It’s not like there is an unending supply of environment or drinking water.) There is already enough of the environment at risk in those 2.6 million miles of pipe. Imagine how many rivers, lakes, wetlands and other tender natural areas are included in those numbers. Some of the ‘events’ in the last couple of years included (but are in no way limited to) a leak on December 5, 2016 from Belle Fourche that dumped 176,000 gallons of oil into Ash Coulee Creek in Billings County, ND. The Bridger Pipeline leaked 30,000 gallons into the Yellowstone River on January 17, 2015 causing the contamination of the water supply in Glendive, MT. Back in 2010 1 million gallons of crude oil poured into the Kalamazoo River. (1 million gallons!) These are the first few I found.
There is of course the discussion of Sacred Lands and the Standing Rock Sioux…we’ll put the water source aside for the moment because I think this is more important. Before we get out our charts, maps, legal documents and whatnot to dispute what lands are Sacred and which are not- consider this.
The Great Sioux Nation once covered a large portion of the northern plains of the US and we will confine our historical discussion to somewhat modern times for the sake of space. Southwest N. Dakota, 70% of S. Dakota, 80% of Nebraska, Southeast Montana and most of Eastern Wyoming were the homelands of the Great Sioux Nation and lands considered Sacred by The People included a section where Mount Rushmore now resides as well as The Black Hills- both in South Dakota as it happens.
Is it possible, in the history of that Nation, that there may be other lands considered Sacred that do not necessarily show up on a map or chart- given they have been here for decades of centuries? Is it not in fact possible the term ‘Sacred Lands’ may encompass an idea rather than a physical space to occupy on a chart? Could we not recognize it may be the belief of The Great Sioux Nation that there are many parcels of land Sacred to the heart and spirit of The People? To the religion of The Nation? Should we not honor that religious belief if only because our constitution requires it? (Cemeteries, by many, are considered Sacred Lands. I do not feel that way because I believe the Spirit of the person does not reside there. But I respect that fact that others do consider it Hallowed Ground and conduct myself accordingly when there.) I suggest we do not need to believe what lands are considered Sacred by The Great Sioux Nation- we simply should respect what they believe.
My answer as to why I am so passionate about blocking the Dakota Access pipeline?
One, it is redundant. Two, the line endangers more water sources and environmental communities when we have placed an already a ridiculous number at risk. Three, it disregards the religious rights of others.
And four, it harms many and benefits no one.