Protesters, who identify themselves the “water protectors”, are standing their ground as the construction of the Dakota pipeline proceeds to move forward.
The pipeline, which would be used to transport crude oil to refineries along the Eastern Seaboard, is estimated to cost $3.7 billion. If completed, the pipeline would begin in North Dakota and pass through South Dakota, Iowa, and end in southern Illinois, stretching approximately 1,200 miles.
In 1851 the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed by the U.S. government, agreeing to set aside land for the members of the Sioux Nation in Standing Rock, North Dakota. The pipeline, which violate this agreement, would be located only a mile away from the Sioux Reservation, cutting under the Missouri River. If ruptured, the pipeline could potentially contaminate the tribe’s source of fresh water, as well as it would disturb multiple burial grounds and sacred lands.
The Sioux Nation, who have been joined by hundreds of members from other surrounding tribes and Non-Native Americans, have been protesting against the pipeline since last summer, despite attacks from law enforcement.
On Sunday, after protesters engaged in a violent controversy with law enforcement and were doused with water in 22-degree weather, an estimated 300 protesters were injured and 26 were taken to the hospital for severe wounds, internal bleeding, and hypothermia. One protester, Sophia Wilansky, nearly lost her arm after an explosion occurred when police fired concussion grenades at protesters.
Over 400 arrests have taken place at the construction site since the protest began. Protesters have been accused of trespassing and engaging in riot behavior, while police officers have taken extreme measures against them, using such things as, pepper spray, beanbag rounds, tear gas and water cannons.
The protesters are fighting for the construction of the pipeline to be halted and the route to be redirected. As stated in an interview with NowThis News, President Barack Obama, believes that there is a way for the pipeline to be rerouted, and stated that the Army Corps is examining the possibilities.
The pipeline developers are now waiting to receive their federal permit, giving permission for them to dig under the river, which could arrive any day.
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