The Dakota Access Pipeline… WTF Is This About?

Ah, North Dakota. The land of bison, Badlands, and a crude oil pipeline on course to destroy a Native American tribe’s water source and burial grounds.

I keep seeing articles on Facebook about how there’s a media silence on this story so here’s my two cents on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s what says about why the pipeline is being built.

I should probably stop writing here since there’s a lot of sunshine and clear skies aplenty headed towards North Dakota. There’s even two guys wearing hard hats and glasses taking notes on laptops. Plus a nice barn that has been used for a billion engagement photo shoots. Maybe Sarah Palin had it right all along!

Drill, baby, drill!

And there’s never been an issue with crude oil pipelines before! This looks fine.

Tans-Alaska Pipeline Spill, May 2010

And this looks alright.

North Dakota Train Collision, December 2013

Deepwater Horizon even got a movie made about it starring Mark Wahlberg.

Deepwater Horizon Spill, April 2010

Although it’s certainly not the first disaster movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

Disaster struck theaters everywhere June 2015

In April the Keystone 1 pipeline in South Dakota farted out 16,800 gallons of oil into an area of land the size of a football field. TransCanada, the company responsible for the pipeline called the spill “small” and requested a no-fly zone over the spill area. If you have a “small” problem it’s usually alright for airplanes to fly over it. Some of my older shirts are getting stained with deodorant and I don’t know what to about that. That is a “small” problem. And earlier this September the Colonial Pipeline running from Houston to New York sprung a leak resulting in 250,000 gallons gushing into Alabama. So why are companies continuing to build pipelines? They’re obviously prone to leaks which destroys land and costs millions in cleanup. Maybe the companies responsible for this don’t care that much about the spills. Maybe they’re after something else….

Dollar, dollar bills indeed, Danny McBride

Oh yeah! Money! It’s always freakin’ money. These oil companies can afford to handle the costs of spill cleanups and they don’t really have to worry about PR. It’s hard to boycott a product you need to get to school, work, home, and anywhere in between. (Yes, yes, yes, I hear you bicyclists, public transit users, and electric car drivers don’t worry I’m writing about you guys soon enough). It’s much cheaper to keep building pipelines than to pay truck drivers to drive tankers and deliver gasoline. Especially since truck drivers are always whining about their precious “salaries” and “time spent with family.” Pipelines are cold, heartless, metal colons pumping the bones of dinosaurs day in and day out. They will eat a truck driver’s family and not even bat an eye.

So onto the actual topic at hand, the North Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is being built in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. When built it will carry 500,000 gallons of crude oil a day near Lake Oahe (part of the Missouri River in North Dakota) which is where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe gets their water from.

Here’s the problem. If this pipeline is built and a leak is sprung, this tribe’s best water source is royally screwed. With the average annual income for a tribe member at $4, 421, that doesn’t leave a lot of money to buy bottled water as a backup for the overwhelming likelihood of an oil spill. Besides threatening the tribe’s water source, it’s disrespectful to the tribe’s land because construction will take place near and on top of burial and religious grounds. A quick reminder, the U.S. government pushed these tribes into these reservations in the first place.

Shove it, John Smith

So with no monetary power and Dakota Access hungry for oil, the company thought they were in the clear to build without having a lot of issues starting construction. Native Americans have been pushed around so much no one will even notice! Well thank God for the internet because word started to spread faster than Ryan Lochte ditching the Rio Olympics.


The Standing Rock Sioux has banded together with over 200 other Native American tribes and more than four-thousand protesters to stop the pipeline in a last ditch effort to be heard by lawmakers. This is the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a hundred years. At least eight protesters have been arrested for chaining themselves to construction equipment and 40 protesters in Iowa have been arrested during a public demonstration. Major U.S. cities including Boston, Minneapolis, and Seattle have held marches to continue to fight against the pipeline.

Not pictured: Amanda batting away tears

Not surprisingly, Dakota Access and North Dakota’s governor aren’t too pleased about this act of sticking it to the man and together they’re making every effort to stop protestors. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) activated the National Guard which put up road blocks to construction sites. Not to be outdone, Dakota Access has a flair for the dramatic and brought in security dogs, pepper spray, and zip ties. Children, pregnant women, and horses have been attacked by the guards.

This attack dog handled by one of the privatized guards has the blood of a protestor in it’s mouth. Dakota Access is literally hungry for blood. And that sweet, sweet, crude oil.

While fending off attack dogs and pepper spray, tribe members and activists have additionally sought legal action to stop the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has sued in federal court claiming that “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improperly granted permits for the project,” says The Wall Street Journal. Fortunately at the moment, building twenty miles around Lake Oahe has been halted by the Obama administration while further environmental assessments can be made regarding the project. The Army, the Department of Justice as well as the Interior Department are currently determining if the pipeline near Lake Oahe is interfering with the National Environmental Policy Act. Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dave Archembault II said in a statement, “I want to take a moment and reflect on this historic moment in Indian Country…But I know that our work is not done. We need to to permanently protect our sacred sites and our water. There are areas on the construction route that do not fall within federal jurisdiction, so we will continue to fight.”

The fact that protestors are being heard after getting screwed over by a company worth billions is absolutely beautiful . The Obama administration could have chosen to ignore this story as much as I ignore pizza rolls serving sizes. This project brings temporary jobs and cheaper oil, but fortunately those currently in power have, for the time being, recognized how poorly this company has acted towards this tribe. As if Native Americans in the United States haven’t been pushed around enough (which is putting it lightly) this company is making an effort to threaten their best source of water for agriculture, drinking, showering, etc. At some point that pipeline is likely going to burst, and it’s going to ruin the Missouri River. It’s essentially expecting Michael Bay to make a good movie. You hope he’s improved since the last film but he disappoints you every damn time. This story is still developing but I urge you to post links related to the efforts being made to stop this project. This tribe deserves to keep the land and water that was promised to them. Additionally, we need to focus on clean energy and stop pumping non-renewable energy around North America like we’re trading freaking Pokemon cards. Below is a link provided by with 10 ways to support the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of activists trying to permanently bring this project to a halt. Many of the ways you can help is by simply making phone calls to state and federal representatives, and you’re probably on your damn phone right now scrolling around on Tinder. You can swipe left or right on helping this country’s Native American tribes but the choice is up to you!

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