There is a lot of controversy over the building Dakota Access Pipeline. During his Presidency, last year President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers stop the construction of the pipe line.
Now 23 days into his presidency, Trump and his new administration have passed some controversial executive orders, but the one executive order that poses a real threat to human rights violation is the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172 mile long pipeline ranging 8o inches in diameter transferring crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. According to daplpipelinefacts.com underneath Lake Oahe lies seven more pipelines, the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be the eight addition to an already vulnerable situation.
In 2010, Deepwater Horizon leaked in the Gulf of Mexico an easily preventable situation by British Petroleum with a $500 thousand shut off valve could have negated the catastrophic event. According to dosomething.org because of BP lack of foresight and negligence the company is responsible for approximately $40 billion in fines, cleanup cost, and settlements, which does not include the additional $16 billion to the Clean Water Act, but this is not the catastrophe. Humanities negligence and destruction of water and the ecological eradication of species is the biggest catastrophic misfortune to occur in centuries.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said Philosopher George Santayana, but humanity has not forgotten about the past oil spills, but instead chooses not to acknowledge or learn from these past catastrophic events, and so they are condemned to repeat it while, encroaching on our human rights.
The Journal of American Behavioral Scientist, The Exxon Valdez, and BP Oil Spills: A Comparison of Initial Social and Psychological Impacts by Duane A. Gill, J. Steven Picou, and Liesel A. Ritchie compared the two biggest oil spills in North Americas’ history the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and the 2010 BP spill, providing research of the social, physical, and mental health impacts within the residents residing near the spills.
The authors of the study randomly sampled residents of Cordova, Alaska- Exxon Spill and South Mobil County, Alabama- BP Spill, 5 months after each event.
“The Exxon spill had harmful consequences on local communities…,” said Gill, Picou, and Ritchie.
According to the journal article communities whose social, economic, and cultural lifestyle tied to commercial fishery were severely impacted and suffered emotional distress.
“Initial human impacts within these communities included high levels of collective trauma, social disruptions, economic uncertainty, community conflict, and psychological stress,” said Gill et. al.
Alaska Natives and commercial fisherman experience the brunt of the aftermath of the spill causing significant declines in local fisheries, which impacted their livelihood and economic well-being.
According to the journal article not only did the oil spill effect the community and residents of Cordova on a Macro-level, but it also had a significant impact to its residents on a micro-level. Residents of Cordova, Alaska felt significant disruptions to their daily routines, family life, work, their future, as well as serious mental health problems. Examples of stresses they felt includes: increase drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, chronic feelings of helplessness, betrayal, anger, elevated levels of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and adoption of avoidance coping strategies. Most of this feeling had also to do with the prolonged litigation.
According to the journal article the authors found similar findings in studying the social, economic, and cultural lifestyle of South Mobil County residents’ aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon leak.
If the already vulnerable Lake Oahe becomes contaminated the people of Standing Rock will face the same psychologic, social, and economic misfortunes as the residents of Cordova, Alaska and South Mobil County, Alabama.
The Water Protectors of North Dakota and the Standing Rock Reservation are all fighting for the access to clean and sanitary drinking water, and by the government denying humanity access to clean water, while knowing the detrimental effects with the aftermaths of oil spills and still willing to gamble with human rights shows an oversight in disregarding and violating the Declaration of Human Rights, and should be held in contempt for their illegal and unethical practices.