2015 finds native communities in the dakotas and midwest fighting to protect precious water resources from oil and uranium mining. Native Americans find themselves immersed in judicial technicalities that ignore tradition. If a pipeline snakes around a reservation boundary, a boundary that does not include the larger 1868 perimeter, surface and groundwaters are still vulnerable to a spill. Also in trouble are drinking and irrigation waters that the people depend upon. Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle wrote an impassioned op-ed, criticizing the decision to deny input from the affected tribes. "Will we wait another 50 years for medical societies to make policy statements defining the public health threats of oil and associated chemicals in our drinking water?" she asked.
The toxic mix that helps the tar sands dilbit flow through pipelines contains bitumen oil and diluents, benzene, toluene, and micro-polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Once these PAHs are spilled, they turn into gasses in the surrounding area, causing symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, coughing, and fatigue in people and wildlife. PAHs are health hazards and cause respiratory issues such as asthma; they also cause cancer, and hormone and reproductive problems by disrupting neuroendocrine transmitters and interfering with DNA functions.In Minnesota Honor the Earth is fighting the Canadian corporation Enbridge's attempts to extend its pipelines from Canada and create a new pipeline, the Sandpiper, which will bring oil from the Bakken fields to refineries on Lake Superior. The third annual "Love Water Not Oil Tour" is a spiritual battle against the proposed Enbridge pipelines.
Everytime I visit my home state of North Dakota I am appalled by the tole that oil mining has taken on the landscape. And every time I look around at my family and friends and wonder why they are ok with this massacre, why they aren't doing anything to stop it, not even getting angry about it. After spending time in Fargo I finally discovered the only real fight against this environmental disaster was raging on without my knowledge. Winona Laduke is the head of Honor the Earth and is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development renewable energy and food systems and is my new hero. Honor the Earth is interested in the transition from this destructive economy and way of life, back towards land based economics. In this land based economics, we see that intergenerational and inter-species equity are valued, that cyclical systems are reaffirmed , that not all “natural resources” are up for extraction, and that we behave responsibly.
The local and personal impacts of the dangers of Oil drilling and big pipeline projects should be just as important as the national and global. Of course this piece could have ended up as a conversation about the science behind the dangers of these processes but I believe that seeing a human side to the issue is more effective. We've already seen the effects of uranium mining on native american water resources, thousands of birth defects have been attributed to this disaster. Will it take another incident to end these dangerous practices?
Impact over Time
2 Month/2 Years
The pipeline battle rages on in washington, will they listen to people on the land they are destroying? Within two years they could begin to actually begin to build these dangerous projects.
Birth defects from irresponsible fracking and pipeline leakage begin to show up in not only native american communities but all over the affected regions.
The government and the lobbyists listen to concern and protests of the communities they are affecting. They find safer alternatives to fracking and oil pipelines and begin utilizing renewable energy resources to replace as much as possible.
The government and lobbyists ignore the people living on this land and continue these projects covering these regions in multiple dangerous pipelines and digging more and more oil fracking projects.
Questions for others
Is oil fracking and the laying of pipelines something you view as a threat to the natural environment?
Do the concerns of people living on this land out weigh the benefits of building the pipeline?