One year ago, after a long & divisive presidential campaign, there was still one thing that united Democrats and Republicans … universal loathing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Ruining the environment and desecrating sacred Native American lands had struck a bipartisan chord across the USA. We all opposed big oil sticking their pipeline where it didn’t belong, regardless of whether you listened to NPR or InfoWars.
Allow me to take you back one year ago …
- The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters had been occupying the DAPL route at the Lake Oahe river crossing for about 3 months.
- Although the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lost its lawsuit against the US Army Corp of Engineers, the Justice Department, the Department of the Army, and the Interior Department had all urged Energy Transfer Partners to halt construction on the DAPL pending further evaluation.
- President Obama was encouraging the US Army Corp of Engineers to find an alternative solution.
- We all knew that within another day, we would have President-Elect Clinton to work on a resolution to the DAPL problem.
And then, Donald Trump and Russia stole the presidency.
President Obama was still a DAPL firewall for a couple months as the nation hoped it would wake up from a bad dream. One year later, and the Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue continues. Despite protesters being sprayed with water in sub-freezing weather, bombed with tear gas and shot with rubber bullets, they stayed. The US Army Corp of Engineers halted construction in December so it could prepare a full environmental impact statement. Hope’s flame continued to burn.
And then, Donald Trump was sworn into office.
Very quickly, an Executive Order was signed, all impediments to the DAPL were whisked away, and construction resumed on the DAPL. By June, oil was flowing through the DAPL under Lake Oahe.
In 2017, I can find 3 incidents of DAPL leaks. The question is not if the DAPL will leak and pollute the waters of Lake Oahe that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe use for drinking, but when.
Today, the DAPL is almost a forgotten issue. There is nothing that Democrats and Republicans agree upon anymore except that Hillary Clinton has sent and received emails. Despite the Standing Rock Sioux’s continued lawsuits, oil remains flowing through the DAPL. For the Sioux, their nightmare continues thanks to one man, as does ours. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have not given up the fight. Let that be a lesson to the rest of us.