A Pipeline in the Sand

By Nicholas Da Silva, Contributing Writer

17
Photo Courtesy: Elvert Barnes (Flickr)

Few issues have been as hotly debated in our country in the last few years as the controversy surrounding the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline projects. While neither project has come to fruition, they have drawn an emphatic line in the sand between environmentalists and oil-gas advocates. Many have protested the pipeline with passion, to the point where Hollywood stars like Shaliene Woodley have been arrested for their involvement in the boycotting of these proposed projects.

Nonetheless, leave it to the newly minted President Donald Trump to take a controversial issue and add more fuel to the fire. When President Trump signed executive orders supporting both pipelines, he enraged environmentalists and delighted proponents of big business. President Trump has made this decision with the belief that the pipelines’ construction would create nearly thirty thousand jobs and get America back to building their own materials.

With this kind of issue, there really is no clear right or wrong answer because both sides of the argument have substantial pros and cons. The construction of these pipelines can lead to a lot of good for this country, but they can also have some major consequences.

If these pipelines were to be constructed, it would create jobs for American citizens and help America wean off of relying on other countries for oil. For years, America has been viewed as being overly reliant on other countries for just about everything that we use in this country. So it would be a nice change of pace if we started going back to making our own resources again. With an increased availability of oil, it would result in oil prices in the United States decreasing. If American people have to pay less for any resource in this country, it is always beneficial for our people and our country.

Yet, there is potential that the pipeline could lead to a major disaster if things go wrong. If the pipeline gets built, there is a strong possibility of something malfunctioning and a massive spillage occurring. This would be incredibly detrimental to the areas in which the pipeline were built contaminating territories, killing animals and likely forcing people to evacuate their homes. In addition to the possible leakage, the reliance on oil will be counterproductive to the cause of finding renewable energy sources that would be more beneficial to the environment.

Then there comes the issue about the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and how they would be affected by the creating of the pipelines. They would be the primary victims in this situation because their land would be directly affected by the projects. There is concern that the tribe’s drinking water would also be affected by the construction of these pipelines. In addition, members of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe argued that the project disrespects land that has been reserved for Native Americans throughout history.

Given that these projects are going forward, President Trump has to make sure that he goes out of his way to work with the Native American Tribes to make things as convenient for them as possible. Trump would have to ensure caution is taken into not damaging the territory or endangering the living space of these people. It simply would not be right to use the land of this tribe and leave it in ruins.

I think these pipeline projects can have a positive effect on American business and the economy, but supporters of these projects must keep the concerns of the opposition in mind. There are lots of risks being taken with this situation, so Trump has to be responsible in making sure that this plan will not backfire and ultimately endanger the people or the environments that will host these controversial pipelines.

17