This Thursday, the Eco Reps will be in the SRC Atrium from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., hoping to talk about an important issue that is decorating headlines but maybe flew over the heads of college students nationwide.
The Dakota Access oil pipeline, near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, has garnered a lot of national attention. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Susan Sarandon have come out against its construction.
This pipeline is set to cover over 1,000 miles of land, stretching from North Dakota to Illinois. It would carry half a million barrels of crude oil per day. Aside from being an environmental hazard, the issue is that it runs close to the reservation. The land is a sacred ancestral burial ground for the Sioux tribe. They argue that having this oil line so close would desecrate their land. It also poses a real threat of contaminating the Missouri River, the tribe’s only source of drinking water.
The heaviest concentration of protests remains in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. On Sept. 9, the tribe claimed a victory when the Obama administration ordered a cease on all construction within 20 miles of the reservation. Many members within the tribe plan on continuing their protest through the winter, if it’s necessary. They state that they will not stop until the pipeline project is suspended completely.
Nearly 1,500 miles from the site of the pipeline, Rider students are reacting to the news.
“I definitely think they should halt construction,” said Kaitlyn Clark, senior marketing and advertising major. “It’s threatening to damage or completely destroy a ton of the tribe’s sacred land and their drinking water. With the technology we have today, we can send people into space, but we’re still destroying land because of manmade oil spills? It’s messed up.”
Other students didn’t know about the construction, but were concerned once learning about it.
“I had seen links to it on Facebook, but didn’t know much,” said Jennifer Fanelli, senior digital media major. “That sounds like a horrible idea, though. Construction should be halted for good.”
On Sept.13, 2016, a national day of action against the North Dakota pipeline was organized. Protesters met up to march in opposition to the construction. Many gathered in cities such as Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. A march at the White House also took place. It is their hope that more than just a temporary halt on construction will take place, much like what happened when the Obama administration halted the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline last year.
Lawrenceville Eco Rep
Printed in the 9/21/16 issue.