Dakota Access Pipeline must not again fall out of view

by Daily Editorial Board

After months of protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, the construction has come to a standstill by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. President Obama also recently made remarks about alternative routes actively being pursued.

Our vigilance for the construction of the pipeline should not stop here — the fight isn’t over. Already, prior to the standstill, construction failed to stop despite several warnings from the Army Corps. This shows the lack of willingness of the parent company — Energy Transfer Partners — to cooperate with authorities.

The record of the next presidential administration doesn’t help either. President-elect Donald Trump has many alleged investments in ETP. Furthermore, many of the concerns over the environmental harms are associated with climate change, which the newly-elected lead for Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team, Myron Ebell, doesn’t believe in.

Even without the climate change arguments, issues with oil leaks simply cannot be overlooked. Pipeline spills are common: Last year, a significant spill occurred every three days. In the first eight months of this year, there have already been 80 pipeline leaks. These leaks can have catastrophic consequences on nearby wildlife and water supply.

The Dakota Access Pipeline epitomizes the unwillingness of corporations to respect the autonomy and the rights of American Indians. This is no longer simply an issue of economics — it’s a question of human rights. Now is not the time to forget the work that must be done.