The Protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline Brings Up Many Questions.
The protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux near Bismark, North Dakota has generated a lot of buzz on social media, mostly against the pipeline and with the tribe. On the surface this looks like evil, greedy oil company against environmentally conscious Native Americans. But there are a lot of issues to considered both pro and con that need to be considered and the costs of building the pipeline and the costs to not build a pipeline.
I don’t pretend that I am an expert on all of this, but these are the things that I am noticing that make issue not so clear cut. Here are few random thoughts.
Pipelines are infrastructure. It’s important to remember that an oil pipeline is not just about some greedy oil company sending their poison accross the land, pipelines are part of the national infrastructure. Just as our network of highways get goods from one part of the country to another and how the internet makes our connected age possible, pipelines get oil to markets. Like a lot of our national infrastucture, oil pipelines are aging. A good chunk of our pipelines are about 60 years old. Having aging pipelines means those pipelines are more susceptible to spills. Standing Rock isn’t replacing a pipeline, but it is part of the national infrastructure moving goods around.