By Jamie Black, Business Manager
The news of an oil pipeline passing through the Mississippi River has rocked the nation, along with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the teachers and students here.
The oil pipeline named the North Dakota Access Pipeline, has already begun construction, but work was halted because of protests by the indigenous tribe living there.
The pipeline is set to go through a water source that the tribe uses, potentially harming the water if a spill occurs. Another concern that has been raised is that the pipeline is said to be going through burial grounds.
The tribe chairman told the Chicago Tribune, “In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”
The idea of rich white people taking and ruining the land of those who have held it for hundreds of years is history repeating itself, but the major environmental effects it could have this time around is frightening.
Mrs. Dupre, environmental science teacher and adviser for the Environmental Club, weighed in on the subject saying, “[the pipeline] could create damage, although leaks from pipelines are not that often. But most of all it has to do with the respect of their [tribal] land and their right to their land.”
Mrs. Dupre said local projects can damage the Florida environment.
“Tankers bring oil here so there is always that potential of a spill,” Mrs. Dupre said. “We have two nuclear power plants by us, we could have a nuclear accident.”
Many students agree with Mrs. Dupre.
“I believe that the pipeline shouldn’t be built,” junior Alyssa Castro said. “This pipeline will be built under the Sioux tribe’s sacred burial site, which they do not want (to happen). It is their right to say no; it is their sacred land. ”
Dupre’s and Castro’s opinions on the pipeline and other harmful environmental factors seem like the right thing if you are someone who simply cares for the environment, but at the same time there is a whole other side to the argument that sees the economic profit.
In a press release, Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, claimed a study showed “that the construction of the pipeline will have significant economic impact on the four states along the pipeline route, which include North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, terminating at the oil terminal hub near Patoka, Illinois. The four-state region will experience an increase of $1.9 billion in income, nearly $5 billion in production and sales, and $156 million in state and local taxes.”
Environmentalists argue that the promise of jobs and income for the states does sound nice on the economic side of things, but the environment isn’t something that should be disregarded in order to profit.
Dupre pointed out how oil and other forms of energy do sometimes conflict with the environment.
“We do have a need of energy, but we have to look at the environmental impact that it will have and also the respect for the Native Americans,” Dupre said.