The Dakota Access Pipeline has been making waves recently as protesters continue to cry out in fury over its construction.
The pipeline is a 1,172 mile underground pipe, 30-inches in diameter, that will stretch across four states from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline will carry 470,000 barrels of domestically produced crude oil per day from the lands of North Dakota to various refining markets throughout the country.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a federally recognized Indian Tribe, is protesting the construction of the pipeline in the name of environmentalism. The tribe has sued the federal government, stating they were never properly consulted about the project before its implementation.
“The construction and operation of the pipeline ... threatens the tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the tribe,” the formal complaint said.
Proponents of the pipe suggest these worries are not valid and many claim the pipe doesn’t cross into the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s land.
With focus so much on the protests of the pipeline, many forget to look at the many benefits the pipeline will bring.
This $3.7 billion project will create 8,000 to 12,000 local jobs during its construction and it’s estimated to generate $55 million dollars in sales and income taxes each year. This money can then be used towards schools, roads, emergency services and more.
The pipeline will help the United States become more energy independent. In 2013, the United States produced 7.5 million barrels of crude oil each day.
However, an additional 7.7 million barrels of crude oil were imported daily to keep up with consumer demand. The United States is the third largest producer of crude oil in the world, yet is the number one consumer. The pipe will greatly decrease reliance on foreign countries for crude oil.
The main use for crude oil is in the refining process of gasoline. This process consumes about 50 percent of the crude oil that is available. The other half of the crude oil is used for things such as the creation of heating oil, kerosenes, diesel and jet fuel.
Without crude oil it wouldn’t be possible to heat homes, travel, operate cars, airplanes or trucks, or transport goods, things that are necessities for many Americans. Crude oil is a resource many people rely on in their everyday lives, and the pipeline will continue to provide it.
The pipeline is also much safer than many believe. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, using a pipeline to transport crude oil is the safest method available.
Countless incidents involving the transportation of crude oil via rail and truck have occurred over the years. Last year, a train carrying crude oil derailed in West Virginia prompting an evacuation and shutdown of the local water supply.
Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil, also states using a pipeline is more environmentally sound and more cost-effective than these traditional methods of truck and railway.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a massive and expensive project, but can be a great investment in the creation of thousands of jobs and the generation of millions in revenue for the country.
Protesters have the right to stand against its construction, but must remember this pipeline is providing an essential resource in a more safe and economic manner while allowing the United States to become less energy dependent on foreign countries.
Photo from theatlantic.com