Environmentalist Protest Destroys The Environment At Standing Rock
Garbage, building materials, and months of untreated human waste from thousands of Standing Rock squatters now threatens the very water they claimed to be protecting.

After half a year, hundreds of arrests, and thousands of headlines, the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline has drawn to an end at the Standing Rock site. On February 22, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum forced an evacuation of the protestors’ camps. The government needed time to clean the environmental mess the environmentalists left behind.

That paradoxical reality underscores many of the problems with efforts that claim to solve potential problems. In the end, this lengthy “protest” accomplished none of its stated goals, cost millions to those on both sides, and left the area in crisis thanks to the very sorts who claimed to be there as a form of protection.

Instigated by resistance and lawsuits brought forth by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, protesters descended on the flats of the Cannonball River plain and encamped to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The tribe has been in court battling the Army Corps of Engineers over the pipeline. Tribal elders resisted despite the dubious merit of complaints this construction would violate sacred tribal lands and threaten their water supply, even though numerous other pipelines already run through these lands.

We Just Want to Take a Toll

The tribe may have been actually just haggling over compensation. The Washington Examiner reported that during talks with the group representing the pipeline construction—Energy Transfer Partners—the tribe had been given a number of offers. Addressing the concerns cited, ETP pledged water monitoring systems and pipeline emergency support.

These offers were not accepted: “time and again the tribe rebuffed or ignored the company’s offers demanding, instead, a toll on the crude that passed through the pipeline, an ultimatum that showed the tribe’s true desire — easy money.”