By Sharnita Sanders.
While a great number of people were against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, President Donald Trump didn’t hesitate to make his favor of the project clearly known. In fact, one of his first orders as president was to push for the continuation of the pipelines construction. During his first days, the president made quick work of signing off on two memorandum in full support of the pipeline.
TransCanada, the owners of the $3.8 billion pipeline, had quite a difficult time following through with construction during President Obama’s term. The Obama Administration told the company that it would further review the issue of the pipeline. Until it could do so, the pipeline’s construction was put to a halt.
That is, until President Trump quickly reversed the decision not too long after taking office.
Yet, it’s important to contemplate the pipelines beginnings. The Dakota Access pipeline started out as a $3.7 billion project. The pipe would stretch 1,200 miles from Canada through the United States.
The pipeline project came to a halt when the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters began to protest its construction. Their argument against the pipeline was that it would pass through a number of sacred burial sites and contaminate their drinking water
While the site that the pipe was to be built on is technically north of where the Sioux tribe’s reservation lies, the Sioux and their supporters argued that back in 1868 the government obtained the land from them illegally. Therefore, the Sioux claimed that the pipeline was being constructed without their approval.
Despite the fact that nearly 200 Native American tribes came together in protest of the Keystone project- which makes this the largest gathering of indigenous people in the United States- the new president of the United States didn’t hesitate to make his word law.
While President Obama and his administration were against the pipelines construction, Donald Trump believed that the pipeline would “serve national interest.” This would prove true since the construction of the pipeline would provide quite a large number of jobs for Americans. Trump even went as far to say that he would have the pipe built with American steel.
Yet, just recently, like most of his promises, that one seemed to fall flat. While it would provide additional jobs as well as add to America’s itinerary, having the pipeline built out of American steel didn’t happen.
You see, the steel for the pipe has already been delivered. When construction was halted due to the lengthy protests, the steel remained on site. Since the steel is already sitting there, officials believed it would be a waste not to use it. That eliminates the thousands of jobs that Trump promised for steel and construction workers.
As for the rest of the jobs, they’re only temporary: once the pipe is done with construction, it will not need so many people to keep up its maintenance, probably only two or three workers.
So how have things been progressing since Trump approved construction in March?
While many of the protesters have scattered since February, four Sioux tribes are still standing up against the pipeline in protection of their drinking water. Even though things did not turn in the direction of the protesters, those who gathered, including environmental groups, do not think this was a waste of time. They are glad, in fact, that they got a chance to raise awareness about cleaner energy and respect for human rights and the rights of the indigenous people.
The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Dave Archambault made a statement to MPR News earlier in April saying, “The opportunity to build awareness started at Standing Rock, and it’s spreading out to other areas of the United States.”
Currently, those groups who helped push back the date of the Dakota Access Pipeline are helping with other missions. For example, there’s the Keystone XL pipeline which will pump crude oil all the way from Canada to Nebraska and to Texas Gulf Coast refineries to dump an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil per day.
So, when can the delivery of crude oil be expected for the Dakota Access pipeline? That’s scheduled for May 14th, at least according to the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
While the tribes lost several lawsuits that were aimed at taking the pipeline down for good, the fight hasn’t stopped. Protests still go on and the Sioux are still fighting the 1,172 mile (1,885 km) pipeline, and its owner TransCanada, for the sanctity of not only their land, but also their drinking water.
Featured Image: This image was originally posted to Flickr by Fibonacci Blue. The image has been licensed for fair use by the creator under the Creative Commons license – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). No changes were made.