A brand new academic year is upon us. We are seeing familiar faces and welcoming new Broncs to campus.
As part of Rider’s engaged learning model, we are continuously striving to bring together the campus, along with the community while providing fun and informative events. For the Office of Sustainability, our weekly Green Corner articles and monthly Green Film series are a great way to make those connections.
Both the articles and films expose Rider students to national and global environmental issues and generate discussion on how we can work toward solutions as students and worldly citizens. The Office of Sustainability plans to continue focusing on environmental justice as an interdisciplinary theme that connects us all. Therefore, we are revisiting an ongoing topic that we began discussing as a student body last year.
A Rider News article was published in September 2016 regarding the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that was intended to stretch over 1,000 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. Thousands of protesters and indigenous “water protectors,” flocked to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in an attempt to stop the pipelines construction, claiming its would destroy sacred burial grounds and contaminate drinking water for millions of people.
Eco-Reps interviewed Rider students for the article during the Standing Rock media frenzy to get their opinions. Some stated, “They should halt construction” while others said they didn’t know much about the construction but that sounded like a “horrible idea.” Seemingly overnight, the news on DAPL silenced. This environmental and social ordeal went from receiving constant attention and coverage to disappearing from headlines. What happened? Where are we now?
With a fresh year and a new presidential administration, it’s important to revisit one of the hot button issues of 2016 and introduce new Rider students to it as well.
Protests had erupted in July 2016 after a lawsuit was filed against the Army Corps of Engineers who are responsible for constructing the pipeline. Now, a little over one year later, the pipeline has been completed and currently transports crude oil (unrefined petroleum).
Let’s take a look at how we got there. In December 2016, under then-President Barack Obama, pipeline construction was halted while a more thorough environmental analysis was done and a new route was considered. Come February 2017, however, President Donald Trump issued the final easement for the pipeline — with its original route.
In June 2017 with ongoing court hearings, Judge James Boasberg believed the Corps had not sufficiently considered the environmental impacts and justice, remanding the case for further consideration. This gave native tribes hope that pipeline operations could be halted for good, although a pipeline has never before been stopped with a lawsuit. Boasberg makes his final decision on the pipeline’s future this month.
The Standing Rock Sioux are pleased by the attention and support the movement is receiving and have no plans of wavering in this battle.
To learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux or the DAPL, join the Office of Sustainability for their first film of the Green Film Series for the 2017-2018 year. “Beyond Standing Rock” is being shown on Tuesday, Sept. 19 and Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart 115. For more information about the film, visit www.beyondstandingrock.org.
— Jillian Spratt
Graduate Assistant for Sustainability
Printed in the 9/06/17 issue.