On Nov. 11, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Amy Gaskill announced that a decision on whether or not the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil pipeline that would run though native land, would be built is to be made within “the next few days,” according to Reuters.
Construction on the pipeline, which was proposed in 2014, has been halted because of concerns from both native communities and environmentalists.
Still, the pipeline has been in progress for two years too long.
“When you’re messing with the water supply, you’re messing with a lot of lives,” said Guilford Native American Pride club Vice President and CCE student Amber Echerd.
Although President Barack Obama stepped in to stop construction temporarily in September, he has not made any statement about stopping the pipeline. In short, he has not shown that he stands with the native people at Standing Rock.
Obama has also proposed that the pipeline be rerouted, even though the pipeline has already been rerouted to go through native land.
“This pipeline was rerouted towards our tribal nations when other citizens of North Dakota rightfully rejected it in the interests of protecting their communities and water,” said Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement according to ABC. “We seek the same consideration as those citizens.”
The original pipeline was supposed to go through a different path, north of Bismarck, North Dakota. It is likely that the pipeline will not be rerouted a second time.
Rerouting the pipeline will also not fix the environmental issues. Crude oil is still bad for the environment and can cause problems not only in North Dakota, but in every state the pipeline will run through, including South Dakota, Illinois and Indiana.
“Construction is actually complete in North Dakota, except for the bore under the lake, so there is nothing for them to stop,” said an Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson about stopping the construction of the pipeline, according to the Huffington Post.
One reason it is especially important to halt construction of the pipeline as soon as possible is because President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to complete the pipeline, regardless of what it will do to native communities.
The people working on the pipeline certainly seem to think he will.
“I’m 100 percent sure that the pipeline will be approved by a Trump administration,” said ETP CEO Kelcy Warren to NBC News. “I believe we will have a government in place that believes in energy infrastructure.”
In Greensboro, some people have started to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock through protests and other actions.
On Nov. 19 and 20, GNAP will be doing just that.
“We have invited everybody and anybody who would like to come out and help protest,” said Echerd.
This will be the first protest at Guilford in solidarity with Standing Rock.
“We speak of standing against racial bias and social injustice at Guilford College, but now is the time to stand up and be counted as part of who we are,” said GNAP President and CCE student Jeffrey Ray. “We wish our small voices to be heard and to ripple our support of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.”
Some of the things we can do are continue to spread awareness of how police treat protesters at Standing Rock. People are being maced, attacked by dogs and arrested even though they are well within their rights.
We can also send supplies to Standing Rock. The protesters need things like water and first aid supplies in order to continue their work.
Lastly, we can educate ourselves on campus. We can talk to people and organizations who are familiar with what is happening at Standing Rock, such as GNAP, which meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the basement of Mary Hobbs Hall.