March 1, 2017


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With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.

Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democrat viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just to present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half! The topic this week: the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Stance 1

The Dakota Access Pipeline will make transporting oil from North Dakota to major refining markets and American consumers safer, more cost effective and more environmentally sensitive.

The Dakota Access Pipeline project crosses almost entirely private land and does not cross the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, even at the highly disputed portion of the pipeline at Lake Oahe. The project does comes within half a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s borders. In order to develop such a route, the United States Army Corps of Engineers alone held 389 meetings with 55 tribes regarding the project, as well as reaching out to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe nearly a dozen times to discuss archaeological and other surveys of the land. The politically-motivated anti-fossil fuel protestors who are so vociferous in the media do not truly have the tribe’s best interests in mind, but, rather, are using the issue as a cover story to gain attention for their efforts, which can be violent and extremist disruptions. Their protests deny private property rights and freedoms to landowners nearby and their behavior can be dangerous to themselves and others. The government will continue to defend the rights granted through proper and legal venues, and the rights of Americans to reduce foreign dependence on fossil fuels to power our economy and warm our homes.

It is necessary to become more energy independent. Oil imports account for two-thirds of the US annual trade deficit. North Dakota’s 251% increase in oil production since 2010 can significantly cut back on the billions of dollars leaving the US economy. In addition, the Dakota Access Pipeline project is expected to create 8,000 to 12,000 new jobs and pump money into industries that manufacture steel pipes and other related materials. The project will increase tax revenue into local and state economies during construction and increase property and sales taxes after its completion.

A Manhattan Institute review of the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics proved that pipelines result in “fewer spillage incidents and personal injuries than road and rail.” Pipelines are less likely to result in spills or accidents, like that of May 2015 in which a train carrying crude oil derailed, resulting in a fiery crash and the forced evacuation of a North Dakota town. Moving oil by pipeline also produces a lower carbon footprint than by trains or trucks.

Lake Oahe already contains eight other pipelines as well as one high-voltage electric transmission line. The Dakota Access Pipeline project crosses anywhere from 95 to 115 feet below the bottom of Lake Oahe, so the concern that this new pipeline will threaten the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux and millions of people downstream is valid but not necessarily revolutionary. Those concerns have been overcome and successfully quelled eight times over.

Clearly, the Dakota Access Pipeline project should be carried out to provide American citizens and businesses the energy they need to produce jobs and help the economy thrive.

Conservatively yours,


Stance 2

The Dakota Access Pipeline is another violation to add to the never-ending list of American encroachment on Native American land. The protests that have occurred predominantly at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation express the sentiments of the local communities that fear that the 1,172 mile-long pipeline will destroy their sacred land. DAPL travels from the Bakken shale oil fields in North Dakota south-east through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois. Passing through four states, the pipeline poses a threat to the environment and the societies who live in close proximity to its structure. The purpose of the pipeline is to create a reliable transport system for crude oil to refineries. Currently, this crude oil is transported by car or train, which is an unstable system. However, creating a pipeline that poses a threat to the environment and the lands upon which it trespasses is not the solution.

DAPL decreases United States reliance on foreign oil at the cost of Native American burial sites and land. Since its inception, the U.S. has taken advantage of Native Americans and violated their right to the land they inhabit. Rather than destroying their land, we should appreciate Native American traditions and save the land for historic preservation’s sake. The proposed pipeline, which is “designed to carry up to 830,000 barrels of petroleum per day,” creates severe threats to the land it bypasses. Due to the amount of petroleum transported each day, a leak in the pipeline could be catastrophic to the wildlife, farmland, water and air in the four states.

Looking toward the long term impacts of the pipeline, we are buying into a system that proliferated our over-usage of fossil fuels. Rather than increasing the carbon emissions and petroleum we use, we should be using the $3.7 billion on researching alternative energy sources that will not destroy our environment.

In addition to the trampling of Native American Land, the pipeline is unfairly judged by our government. President Trump is linked monetarily to the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline since he has stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the group handling the project. Because of his connection to this company, he is not the right person to determine if DAPL should proceed as planned.

Lastly, the members of our society who have tried to defend their land valiantly are being confronted by police brutality at every front. Most recently, on February 23rd, authorities used force to evacuate the last standing protesters in North Dakota, tearing down their make-shift homes and razing the land. It is disappointing that our government does not value the opinions and beliefs of the Native Americans in North Dakota. It is equally disappointing that peaceful protests are met with cruelty.

Liberally yours,



Rebecca Saber is a junior government major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She aspires to be Secretary of State, but is willing to settle for Supreme Court Justice. When she is not writing about politics, Rebecca can be found watching TV in her bed or at some musical theater rehearsal. Welcome to the Zoo appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester. If you want to chat, Rebecca can be reached at [email protected].

Katie Barlow is a junior biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. When not debating politics, she can be found running half marathons, eating mashed potatoes, and teaching tree climbing for COE. Welcome to the Zoo appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester. If you’re up for a chat, Katie can be reached at [email protected].