Since the beginning of Donal Trump’s administration in the United States, there has been an acceleration of fossil fuel and oil projects around the country. Due to Trump’s resignation to the Paris Agreement and his reputation for ignoring environmental repercussions, he has allowed oil companies to start new projects that will “benefit” the American economy.
Even though this previous paragraph seems depressing and hopeless, environmental activism has legally stopped new pipelines and emptied existing ones. The Dakota Access Pipeline has been shut down thanks to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, members of the community and environmental activists.
The Dakota Access Pipeline was designed to provide 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Marcellus Shale fields in West Virginia to markets in eastern Virginia and North Carolina around 3,000 miles long. This pipeline would eventually cross a river that would also affect species and water quality.
The property that the pipeline would have traversed belongs to natives of the area who were extremely worried about the environmental repercussions they would face. Activists sought legal help to prove that the Dakota XL Pipeline was not following the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and how the US Military Corps of Engineers failed to provide a proper study of the environmental implications the pipeline would face.
The pipeline would have caused several environmental catastrophes: from oil spills to a decline in water quality which in turn would affect the fish population. As it is in an indigenous reserve, many religious ceremonies would have also been affected.
After numerous proofs of the unethical pipeline of Dakota, the ruling of the court officially shut down the ongoing project. It is more common for a project to be shut down before it is built than when it is working. This rare situation demonstrates how shutting down a major oil pipeline is such a win for activism and environmentalism. The final verdict stated that by August 5th, the pipeline should be emptied of the area.
The Dakota Access Pipeline owners stated that due to the interruption of their project, the cost of energy would increase, causing several economic problems.
When the masses get together to fight for what is right, even ignorant politicians with power can get defeated. The power is on the people. This is a story of grassroots resistance and of relentless organizing. It is a victory for environmental justice and for addressing the climate crisis.
We cannot give up, there are still many companies that forget their environmental responsibility, and it is our place to hold them accountable.
Sadly, the government in the United States is so scared of the power the people are owning up, that they are silencing the protesters by prohibiting them from protesting. Read more in the following article to understand the backlash this cancellation had on different oil refineries.