The Dakota Access Pipeline


 The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a stretch of 1,172 miles of underground pipeline that starts in North Dakota, and crosses through South Dakota and Iowa and ends in Illinois. This pipeline moves 570,000 barrels (1 barrel = 42 gallons) of crude oil daily. 

Prior to the construction, multiple tribes protested the project, citing huge environmental risks including potential leaks and contamination of the water supply. The other primary reason for these protests were the pipeline placement destroying Indigenous sacred sites and ancestral burial grounds. Despite these protests, construction began within a mile of Standing Rock Sioux water systems. Early maps for the pipeline show a consideration to route the line around the reservation, but this was abandoned because it would add “about eleven miles of pipeline to the project.” So instead, they decided to go through protected land. 

In April of 2016, the official protests began on Standing Rock Sioux land at what became known as “Standing Rock protests.” The Standing Rock Sioux held that the United States had violated Article II of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which states that portion of the land “set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians herein named, … and the United States now solemnly agrees that no persons, except those herein designated and authorized so to do, and except such officers, agents, and employees of the government as may be authorized to enter upon Indian reservations in discharge of duties enjoined by law, shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory described in this article, or in such territory as may be added to this reservation for the use of said Indians, and henceforth they will and do hereby relinquish all claims or right in and to any portion of the United States or Territories, except such as is embraced within the limits aforesaid, and except as hereinafter provided.”

In July of 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) for violating environmental protection laws regarding evaluation of risks of oil spills and plans for containment should they occur. In 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the ACE did in fact violate the laws, and requested the pipeline shut down while the new review was created. The Supreme Court ruled the shut down of the pipeline was not required during the review in February of 2022, and the ACE stated they believed they would have the review completed in March of 2022. At the time of this writing, April of 2022, there is no documentation that suggests the review has been submitted. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline is still running. 


The Indigenous Foundation: The Dakota Access Pipeline

Harvard University: Environmental and Energy Law Program

CNN: Judge Rules DAPL Can Keep Running


Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock


We Are Water Protectors (early-mid elementary age)

Black Snake: Standing Rock, The Dakota Access Pipeline, and Environmental Justice (high school and above)

Standing with Standing Rock: Voices From the #NoDAPL Movement (high school and above)