Stanford Review Opinion Piece Highlights Fundamental Issues With Dakota Access Protest

A recent opinion piece penned by two students in the Stanford Review highlights some of the glaring issues being ignored by protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the piece, “It’s easy to oppose the pipeline. It’s harder to consider the consequences of not building it.

The follow represents selections from the op-ed:

“…Meanwhile, the Sioux tribes who now claim the pipeline crosses their lands and threatens their water failed to attend any of the state’s public comment meetings. They did not submit written comments that the state evaluates to determine whether projects should go ahead. They were also offered the chance to meet the project’s officials on seven occasions – the exact “legal protections” that the Stanford American Indian Organization demanded indigenous people be given. The tribes refused each time…”

“…New-found opposition to the pipeline is hypocritical. There is already a near-identical pipeline which, though it follows the same route as the proposal, received no similar protests when it was constructed in 1982. The government at the time took into account “concern about the possible existence of archaeological sites”. The reason for the sudden change since then is likely not Native American interests but the selfish desire of white American environmentalists to stop fossil fuels, regardless of popular opinion or consequences…”

“…Every American has a right to be heard. But with that right comes the duty to adhere to the decisions that American democracy makes. The democratic process exists to make the tradeoffs we have described: North Dakota is building a pipeline because the economic and social impacts to the most marginalized Americans and global citizens are too great to ignore. If we let every culture’s sacred beliefs block a proposal – no matter the economic consequences – then the major projects necessary for economic growth and improving standards of living become impossible. This danger grows more serious with every new victim class we create…”

“…When groups ignore democracy because they disagree with the outcome, they ruin the lives of the country’s poorest in the process. They also commit exactly the same offense as Trump supporters, or indeed anyone in the past who believes personal whims are enough to justify violence against others. Stanford students and protesters should condemn vigilante justice in all instances – not just those they happen to dislike.”