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Hundreds of Native Americans have been protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, with the protests leading to arrests and the developers filing restraining orders against members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
According to BBC news, between 200 and 400 people have gathered in protest near the Sioux tribe's reservation, located near Fort Yates, North Dakota. Some protestors came on horseback, and some were beating drums.
The Dakota Access pipeline is a US$3.78-billion infrastructure project designed to transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken/Three Forks formations in North Dakota to a terminus near Patoka, Illinois, crossing the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are worried that the 1,100+ miles-long pipeline is designed to cross many lakes and rivers – including Lake Oahe and the Missouri River -- and may pollute their drinking water and disturb sacred sites and burial grounds. The tribe also fear that the pipeline will run within half a mile of their reservation.
Sixteen protesters have been arrested so far, including the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault II, who had been released after a day in custody.
Speaking to Indian Country Today, David Archambault II said: “We don't want this black snake within our Treaty boundaries”.
The Dakota Access pipeline developer, on the other hand, claims that it has to guarantee the safety of the construction workers and is asking a federal court to issue restraining orders and to get unspecified amount of monetary damages.
This is certainly not the first controversy over the proposed Dakota Access infrastructure, and certainly not the first against a major pipeline project in recent years.
In May, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked Iowa utility regulators to block plans for the Dakota Access pipeline.
The pipelines designed to transport crude from the Bakken patch are facing a number of hurdles. This comes months after a similar-in-length pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline project, was axed in November last year.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.