President Biden just stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline. After the previous administration had approved the permit for Keystone, there was hope Biden would cancel it. President Biden signed an executive order canceling the permit to finish the pipeline. He made his reasoning clear: Keystone was going to hold us back in the effort to combat climate change. We must do everything to protect our environment from destructive hazards. Furthermore, the fight has not been easy. Many protests have taken place by Native people and environmental groups to stop the pipeline.
Native peoples were protesting to stop the construction of the pipeline because oil spills. Keystone was supposed to carry 830,000 barrels of oil for 1,200 miles from Alberta, Canada throughout the Midwest and gulf coast. This is dangerous because if oil spilled it would contaminate the Cheyenne river, which is located in tribal territories. The fact that this was prevented is extremely important because contaminated water means it can’t be used. Water is a life necessity and people need it for almost everything. Moreover, the oil could have damaged the ecosystem of the river.
The Keystone isn’t the only pipeline that Biden needs to come out against. Indigenous peoples held protests against the Keystone pipeline as well as Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. They are protesting for the protections of their water and their sovereignty of their lands. Whenever pipelines are routed, they are set to pass through white neighborhoods. White people speak out against the pipeline and the pipelines are rerouted. Then, the pipelines are rerouted through tribal territories without Native peoples’ consent. If indigenous people oppose the pipeline, their voices are ignored. They are demanding President Biden also shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Enbridge’s Line 3.
Protesting has not been easy for water protectors. In fact, protestors have been met with violence by authorities. During the DAPL protests in 2016, Indigenous peoples were tear gassed, faced dog attacks, armed police, military, snipers, etc. Even though indigenous people protest peacefully, the government still sees them as a threat to capitalist expansion. Water protectors and land protectors who are trying to protect their rights to clean water are not a threat. In fact, the oil pipelines and those putting profit over lives and the environment are the real threat. The mistreatment of Native people by the government is violating their sovereignty to protect their lands.
No DAPL and Line 3 pipeline
Without a doubt, President Biden must shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Enbridge’s Line 3. Enbridge Line 3 is a pipeline that runs for 1,097 miles since 1963 through Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin. Line 3 is old and has cracked which is dangerous because it could contaminate land and water. Furthermore, Canada, Wisconsin and North Dakota have approved permits to construct a new pipeline for Line 3. In the state of Minnesota, Native people are protesting this pipeline since it would cross many tribal territories. These territories allow Indigenous people to sustain their way of life of hunting and fishing. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and several other representatives express their support to halt Line 3.
In addition, DAPL should never have been allowed to continue. Currently, the US court of Appeals has upheld the previous courts decision in which permits for DAPL were revoked. In other words, DAPL is not allowed to operate because they failed to do an environmental review. Basically, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to prove the pipeline will not present a threat to the environment. As Native people have been saying for years, the pipeline is a threat to clean water. It is not just Indigenous people who benefit from these pipelines being shut down, the rest of us also benefit. We all benefit from keeping our waters clean because it allows us to access our most important life necessity. No one should be denied clean water.