People at the front lines of the battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline are calling it a ‘death sentence’

oil spill

Thousands of protesters have been camping out for months in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to protest the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed 1,172-mile oil project that would shuttle half a million barrels of North Dakota-produced oil to refining markets in Illinois.

The protesters, which include representatives from more than 100 Native American tribes, have camped out on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation nestled along the border between North Dakota and South Dakota along the Missouri River.

They are there because the proposed pipeline would pass through North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a burial site sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux and a major source of drinking water for the community. “The main reason it’s such a big deal here is that it’s going to affect our water supply,” Aries Yumul, an assistant principal at North Dakota’s Todd County School District and a self-identified water protector with the Oceti Sakowin, the proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux, told Business Insider.

Should the pipeline leak or burst, the impact could be devastating.

And leak pipelines do. Since 1995, more than 2,000 significant accidents involving oil and petroleum pipelines have occurred, adding up to roughly $3 billion in property damage, according to data obtained by the Associated Press from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. From 2013 to 2015, an average of 121 accidents happened every year.

 

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