Both Sides of the Pipeline

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Why read about the Dakota Pipeline?

There are two sides to every story. It is important to understand both sides of any issue in order to make an informed decision. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a controversial topic in American society right now. Yet not every Maryville student or any person in general truly understands what the controversy is about. It is important to understand both sides of the controversy in order to make an informed decision.


What is the Dakota Pipeline?

The Dakota Pipeline, or Bakken Pipeline, is to be built by Energy Transfer Partners, a company based in Texas. The pipeline would be used to transport Bakken crude oil from North Dakota traveling through South Dakota and Iowa and eventually reaching an oil tank near Patoka, Illinois. It is a $3.78 billion project that would involve four states and over 1,172 miles.


Photo courtesy of dewereldmorgen.be.


Who is opposed to the Dakota Pipeline?

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has opposed the Pipeline from the beginning. The Standing Rock Sioux is a tribe of about 10,000 Native Americans. Recently many Americans have come to support the tribe in opposition of the pipeline.


Why are people opposed to the Pipeline?

The tribe has been in opposition to the pipeline because it is to be built under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. These bodies of water are essential for the tribe of around 10,000 people because it is the main source of drinking water for the entire tribe. The problem arises because creating a pipeline is not a fool-proof process. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than 3,300 incidents of leaks and ruptures at oil and gas pipelines since 2010. Even a small leak could damage the tribe’s water supply. It is important to note that the original route for the pipeline was moved by a judge because it endangered a water supply in North Dakota. Additionally, the tribe claims that the pipeline runs through sacred burial grounds.


Why are people still in favor of the Pipeline?
The first argument that those in favor of the project are the fact that the pipeline can help the country economically. The project is expected to create between 8,000 and 12,000 new jobs. It is estimated that the construction of the pipeline will add nearly $129 million in tax revenue. Another argument in favor of the project is the fact that moving crude oil through the pipeline is considered safer than the traditional way of moving it by rail. Finally, the pipeline would allow for America to become more energy independent, limiting the amount of oil we take from Russia and the Middle East.


What does the government think?

The Obama administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior, temporarily blocked the construction project until a review occurred. However, the Trump administration has been in favor of completion of the project.


What do Maryville students think?

Andy Zotos, junior, said, “I think the Dakota Pipeline is a necessity. I understand there is risk for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe but there is always risk with any project. In this case, the positives outweigh the potential negatives. I think the creation of jobs and stimulation of the economy will have a positive impact on thousands of Americans.”

Joey Lodes, junior, said, “In my opinion, I don’t think the United States should go through with the completion of the Dakota Pipeline. Native American’s land is sacred and if there is any chance that the pipeline may effect their drinking water, we can not go through with it.”


Photo courtesy of bluemassgroup.com.

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