Demonstrations protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline were held across the nation today, in observance of what organizers called the #NoDAPL day of action.
The North Dakota Access Pipeline has been embroiled in controversy since members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attempted to bar its construction for crossing their sacred land and endangering their drinking water.
During the 2016 presidential election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was charged with vandalism after spray painting on construction equipment.
Other protesters, most of them Native Americans, have been shot by rubber bullets, sprayed with mace, threatened with dogs and arrested. The treatment of these protesters has fueled nationwide efforts to bar the pipeline.
About 100 local activists took to the streets in downtown Phoenix as part of the effort.
April Hall, an activist who organized the Phoenix #NoDAPL event, said she couldn’t handle the blatant disrespect for the people in the Sioux Tribe.
“I just couldn’t stand by, and there were no organized events in the area,” Hall said.
Her event was picked up by activist organization efforts such as Our Revolution, an organization startup by Bernie Sanders and his staff. Hall said it was important to take action under the current administration before president-elect Donald Trump takes office.
“I think there is more of a chance under the current administration than a Trump administration to get it through,” she said.
She also explained why the protest was held in front of the Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building in Phoenix.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are the ones who fast tracked the pipeline,” she said.
The corps is also the last thing standing between the pipeline being constructed and preserving the land. Tom Haws, a civil engineer at the protest, said this is common for reviewers.
Haws said he looks at the Pipeline from a unique perspective.
“I have a unique perspective on the review process,” Haws said. “I understand the biases of reviewers, and I understand how projects get to where DAPL is right now.”
He said that despite efforts, the DAPL still has a good chance of making it to the final stage.
“My general experience with reviewers is at the very end they don’t want to stand in the way of people’s projects,” he said.
The president of ASU’s College Republicans Kevin Calabrese said the pipeline is a good idea.
“I am in favor of the DAPL and the main reason for this is because it will be good for the economy,” Calabrese said. “The pipeline is supposed to create between 8,000 and 12,000 jobs during its construction”
Calabrese said everyone has the right to clean drinking water, but accused Democrats of using the issue for political reasons.
“Democrats such as Bernie Sanders have turned this into a political issue,” he said. “If anyone is going to be opposed to the pipeline they should focus on safe drinking water and not climate change.”
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