The North Dakota Pipeline Project and Protests – Cover This, Local and National Media!

The major national news stories of the week – and the previous week – continue to center on 3 things: insults and jabs thrown by Hilary Clinton and (mainly) Donald Trump, during the U.S. Presidential Election; Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and the Southern Wall saga, and the newest faux sports outrage target, Colin Kapernick. However, very few media outlets have looked to the Upper Midwest, where a controversial pipe line project continues to pit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers against a growing, multinational coalition of Native Americans.

Image from the Seattle Times

The pipeline in question is described by Energy Transfer Partners, LP:
“Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC, is developing a new pipeline to transport crude oil from the Bakken/Three Forks play in North Dakota to a terminus in Illinois with additional potential points of destination along the pipeline route (1, 2015).” 

On the other side, Native American protesters, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, a community of 8,500 from North and South Dakota. Protesters backing the Standing Rock Sioux temporary shut down construction of the pipeline at the site in Cannon Run, ND, just north of a spot where the pipeline would run under the tribe’s main source of drinking water, the Missouri River (2, 2016)


The protesters’ numbers have swelled to historic numbers. According to the BBC, the 3,000 tribes members of various nations is the largest gathering of tribes in more than 100 years (3,2016). “Things are happening, and it’s a gathering of nations – great nations – and it fills me with pride that we can all come together as one once again,” says Terry Phillips, protester (4; reported by KFYR TV reporter Sara Berlinger, in Bismark, ND). According to the New York Times: “Environmental activists and other tribes from the Dakotas, the rest of the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest have been arriving to camp in the open fields and protest near the parcel where the pipeline company has secured an agreement with the landowner to build (5, 2016).”

Image from NBC News

While many of the protests and protesters have been tense but peaceful, there have been some arrests. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier arrested 10 protesters on August 15th, after they illegally entered a construction site. Sheriff Kirchmeier said that “we [the Sheriff’s Department] will see where this goes, down the long road. You know this is going to be a while”; this includes adding more protest space: “We’re here to make sure that this goes good. We can see what we can do to help it out on their end also (4, 2016).”

2 short videos that you should check out:

BBC (cited below)

The New York Times

I don’t know how much the pipeline will affect the communities it passes through, positively or negatively. There are economic factors: potential new jobs, increased oil flow, etc. There are the environmental factors: the possible pollution of the Missouri River, the destruction caused by miles of pipeline being placed underground, etc. There is the proprietary factor: the pipeline would pass through, or very close to, some Native American territory, etc. What I DO know: there are some pretty significant ramifications with this pipeline and the growing protests around it. Yet, no local media, and few national media outlets, have mentioned this story, let alone informed the public on: who is building the pipeline, why is it being built, where is it being built, who all are protesting, and why are they protesting. How about you maybe, possibly, take away 2 minutes of your Kapernick stalking and HilarTrumpeting (TM) and report on the Dakota Access Pipeline?? 

Here are 2 more articles of interest:

Life in the Native American oil protest camps

Washington tribes stand with Standing Rock Sioux against North Dakota oil pipeline

Articles used in this post (this is probably not cited “correctly”):

  1. (2015). Retrieved from
  2. McKenna, Phil. (2016, August 18). Native American Pipeline Protest Halts Construction in N. Dakota. Retrieved from
  3. (2016, September 1). Rediscovering Native American roots at pipeline protest. Retrieved from The link contains a video by Anna Bressanin
  4. Berlinger, Sara. (2016, August 15). Morton County Sheriff says Dakota Access Pipeline protest space may need to be expanded. Quotes retrieved from–390239992.html.
  5. Healy, Jack. (2016, August 23). Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline. Retrieved from

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