February 22 2017

Why I’m Protesting the Pipeline

It’s a little after Donald Trump’s 4-week anniversary as President and, since his inauguration, much has occurred. This means we are constantly hearing about each wretched executive order and each horrible statement he’s made on almost all news networks. Although it is good to stay informed, it gets tiring losing hope in your country. Trust me, it’s exhausting, but, there’s one specific topic that the media has seemed to brush over. They mention it in between breaths but never really give it the time needed to properly educate the public. This affects everyone equally and is something much bigger than ourselves. It’s a phenomenon called climate change. More specifically, its relation to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.  

via bigstockphoto.com

One of the first things that people were afraid of when Trump was elected was the continuation of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. Trump had expressed his support for it throughout his campaign, and the fear for its completion was met with a signed presidential memorandum aimed at a speedy approval process of the pipelines.

Protesters hopes remained high, but the DAPL was already 95 percent complete before Trump’s inauguration, according to TIME magazine. The only part remaining was the small area of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. With the way our law enforcement has been treating these protesters, they are not hesitant to stop them in any way possible.

There’s a reason that so many people have protested to halt and destroy these pipeline projects. One is that we need to respect our natives. Not only because they help constantly safeguard our environment, but because they deserve to be protected and acknowledged by our government with well-earned respect. They deserve the right to just exist. To this day, native communities struggle to keep their lands sacred and their rights intact, though never reported on in our media.

Another reason to protest is specifically for the environment.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II said he doesn’t support moving more crude oil from North Dakota. He told CNN that Americans should look for alternative and renewable sources of energy.

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“The Dakota Access pipeline would fuel climate change, cause untold damage to the environment, and significantly disturb sacred lands and the way of life for Native Americans in the upper Midwest,” a petition on CredoAction.com states.

Fargo, ND via bigstockphoto.com

Despite the protests, Donald Trump signed an executive action to speedily continue the process of both of these pipelines. AJ+ plus has also reported that the US Army will cancel an environmental study, which will in turn allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River. That is not only careless, but blatantly disrespectful. It might pollute the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water, but they don’t even care to find out if it truly will or won’t. They just don’t care. Why, you ask? Well, Donald Trump might benefit. Even though the Washington Post reported that he sold all his stock with ETP, a manufacturer in the pipeline, in December, he still holds stake in Phillip’s 66, which has a one-quarter share in the Dakota Access Pipeline according to CNBC. Actually, between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66. It also could be that he refutes alternative sources of energy and wants to rely on oil and coal. Either way, in my book, we are screwed.

The risks stressed by condemners of these pipelines are not imaginary. On February 10th 2017, a Phillips 66 natural gas pipeline at the Paradis Pipeline station in Los Angeles exploded while workers were cleaning it, PowerSource reports. They were forced to evacuate 60 homes and 1 person was killed. Victoria Advocate writes that On February 15th 2017, a 36 inch Kinder Morgan gas pipeline exploded in Refugio County, Texas. These risks of a pipeline accident are presently a risk that could ruin a town, it’s people and the environment.



Seriously though, we don’t need to sit in a pit of despair. There’s work to be done. If you don’t like what’s going on in your community or country, go out and protest. The Standing Rock protesters have made national news.  Their voices will be heard and so can yours. Donald Trump and the pipeline supporters, which include people from the Democratic party as well, say the construction will aid in job growth, but we cannot ignore all the negatives that outweigh this positive.

There are also more specific ways to help prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline. Pick up your phone. Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at (701) 328-2200 to let your voice be heard. Call the Army Corps of Engineers and request that construction permits be reversed at (202) 761-5903. Call Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier at (701) 667-3330. He has power on a local level, and you can protest the orders he’s given to use militarized force against the protesters.

Additionally, you can sign the ACLU’s petition to the Department of Justice to demilitarize Standing Rock. It states,”End the militarized response to Standing Rock water protectors. These tribal communities and the allied activists should not be treated like enemies in war.” You can also donate money to standingrock.org.

We have the power to end this crime against our fellow humans and our Earth as well. Let’s use it! 

About Caroline Griffiths

I'm Caroline Griffiths and I'm a sophomore at Nova High School in South Florida. I am 16 years old and I am Vice President of my grade, involved in my Student Government Class (SGA) and participate in Nova High School's debate team. I've always been interested in writing, where I've won a couple of literary awards, and politics, where I see myself in the future. I hope to spread the beautiful message of unity!

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