By now, you’re familiar with the controversy between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and Energy Transfer Partners. The conflict over the oil pipeline construction in North Dakota was under the radar for a while but isn’t anymore with recent celebrity and media attention. But many are still unclear about what’s really going on—or why it matters.
We have your back. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the pipeline?
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile long underground oil pipeline project in the United States. It’s set to begin in the Bakken oil fields in Northwest North Dakota and end at the oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline is due for delivery on January 1, 2017.
Why is it controversial?
DAPL is controversial because of its potential for environmental harm. But, in addition, protests at the site (near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation) have attracted international attention both for the number of protestors and the treatment they receive from authorities.
What’s happening now?
As of this printing, those defending native land are nearing their crowdfunding goals for the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund. At the same time, North Dakota has plans to borrow $4 million to cover the costs of policing the protests. Neither side is backing down anytime soon.
Why does it matter?
Set aside debates of land rights—for Christians the DAPL controversy is fundamentally about creation care. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves the physical world, and He calls His people to care for it. That means issues like this one matter more than business profits.
Celebrities Speaking Out:
“Hear me loud and clear: If you are a human who requires water to survive, then this issue directly involves you.” —in Time
“Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water. #nodapl #waterislife #mniwiconi @taikawaititi.” —Instagram
“Ultimately, a lot of the work I do has to do with protecting water and that’s what these people are doing there.” —on CNN
“Not only is it an environmental, but it’s a problem in terms of social justice.” —at a rally in L.A.