I was in Iraq when President Bush announced the “surge” in January 2007. I was in Afghanistan when President Obama announced the “surge” in December 2009. But it wasn’t until I visited Standing Rock in October 2016 when I actually served the American people. This time, instead of fighting for corporate interests, I was fighting for the people.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), or Bakken Pipeline, is a 1,172-mile oil pipeline project that will transfer crude oil across four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. From the Bakken fields of North Dakota, the pipeline will carry in excess of 450,000 barrels per day of crude oil to Patoka, Illinois, and possibly on to Texas and near the Gulf Coast areas for refinement or export. The project will cost $3.7 billion, while creating 8,000-12,000 temporary construction jobs and only 40 permanent operating jobs.
But I didn’t visit North Dakota to learn about the whopping 40 permanent jobs. I traveled to North Dakota to stand with the people of Standing Rock. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has called people across this nation and around the world to prayer, action and support for efforts to stop DAPL or, as the people of Standing Rock call it, the Black Snake. They, along with over 300 other Native American tribes, realize that the pipeline will eventually leak and spill oil into their fresh water supply. A spill into the Missouri River would affect 17 million Americans downstream that depend on the river for their drinking water. The people of Standing Rock are not just fighting to save themselves, they are fighting for tens of millions of others.
Perhaps these 10s of millions of others are the broadest good….?