If you are a Facebook or Twitter user, you may have noticed #NoDAPL is trending as many are standing in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other protesters in North Dakota to block the Dakota Access Pipeline. The nearly 1,200 mile pipeline is being built by a Texas-based energy company and would span from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. According to an article by Justin Worland of TIME, this pipeline would transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil every day.
The Dakota Access Pipeline contradicts environmental sustainability and the message that Pope Francis encouraged through Laudato Si’ to protect the environment and curb climate change. In addition to perpetuating our country’s dependency on fossil fuels, this pipeline will also run under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation. This is of concern because pipeline spills happen regularly, and even a small leak can wreak havoc on a community’s water supply.
The pipeline will also cross a sacred burial ground of the Standing Rock Sioux, disrupting their sacred land and the respect of their ancestors.
Bill McKibben, an environmental activist, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the injustice that the Dakota Access Pipeline will cause if it is completed. The original plan had the pipeline crossing the Missouri River just north of Bismarck, until concern arose that a potential leak could contaminate the water supply for North Dakota’s second largest city. McKibben notes that the plans for the pipeline are layered with environmental racism and injustice:
The solution, in keeping with American history, was obvious: make the crossing instead just above the Standing Rock reservation, where the poverty rate is nearly three times the national average. This has been like watching the start of another Flint, Michigan, except with a chance to stop it.
Big money and big oil cannot govern our land, our water, and our communities. We must urge authorities to consider the people and the planet over profit. As people of faith, we live out the Gospel and work toward the common good of all people and of the earth. Now, we must stand up for our earth, and we must stand with our brothers and sisters who are facing environmental injustices.
Sign the petition here to tell President Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.