The Dakota Access Pipeline, or Bakken pipeline is a 1,172-mile long underground oil pipe in the United States that spans four states. It begins in the Bakken shale oil fields in the north west of North Dakota and journeys in a straight line towards the southeast, across South Dakota and Iowa, stopping at the oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois. The $3.78 billion scheme was announced to the public on June 25th of 2014 and informational hearings for landowners took place between August 2014 and January 2015. The project was intended to be completed by the 1st of January 2017, but on November 26, 2016, the project was stated to be 87% complete. Concerns about its necessity and possible influence on the environment have made this pipeline a controversial issue. A number of Native American tribes are against the project, including the Meskwaki and Sioux tribal nations, as they believe it will deeply harm the spiritual nature of Mother Earth and the primary water source for future generations.
Native Americans and environmentalists blame the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) for overlooking conservation issues, federal procedures and established treaties between Native American tribes. In lawful challenges and community protests, supporters and members of the tribes have declared that they were not sufficiently informed about the course of the pipeline. By extending the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe the tribes says that the pipeline could endanger the main water foundation for the reservation and possibly harm sacred sites near the areas of the lake, which are protected by tribal treaty rights. Following more than six months of authorised disputing, the Trump administration overturned a verdict by the Obama administration and proclaimed it is permitting the pipeline company to start drilling beneath Lake Oahe to finish constructing the last section of the pipeline. On Feb 22nd this year the last of the protestors and tribes were evicted from their campsite near the construction site.
Many activist groups such as Green Peace and The Science & Environmental Health Network, and a group of more than 160 scientists have spoken out about the threat to natural resources and rare species should the Dakota Access pipeline go ahead. Conservation groups are concerned about the effects of pollution in the air, water, wildlife and farms. The Environmental Council of Iowa has indicated it is concerned about whether the state has enough money in reserve to address any harm caused by a spill. Iowa state laws require pipeline owners to have only $250,000 in its reserve fund, which would not be sufficient for a major disaster. The Native Americans have expressed their feelings and fears about the Missouri River becoming polluted if there is a spill or leak, endangering drinking and irrigation water which thousands of people rely on all year round.
The farmers in the area are worried about the disruption to their land and farms. Iowa’s fields have...