State Representative of District 19 Caleb Hansen addressed the shivering crowd swaying in the January air at the Resist: Stand against DAPL and KXL rally held in response to the revival of the pipeline on Saturday, Jan. 28 on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol Building.
He described the mood in Standing Rock, North Dakota on Dec. 4, 2016 when the Obama Administration announced construction of the Dakota Access pipeline had been halted.
“The joy in camp when it became known that the easement had been denied was incredible,” Hansen said. “It felt like some small success we had all been hungry for. Even with that success, we must move on, there is still work to be done, because that was not the end of the story.”
Hansen’s story continued after the executive orders on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to revive the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.
Both pipelines have been under fire since their proposal because of the negative environmental impact spillage could have on their surrounding landscapes. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe accused the government of approving the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline without consulting with them first.
According to BBC News, more than 200 Native American tribes have pledged support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction out of fear that it will contaminate their water supply and damage their sacred burial grounds.
Celia Espanola, speaker at the rally and member of Idaho Stands with Standing Rock, said the pipeline’s insulation affects the environmental health of the entire nation. However, there have been no reports to support this claim.
According to Energy Transport Partners—the Texas-based company building the pipeline—the Dakota Access Pipeline was proposed to address the growing number of freight trains shipping oil out of North Dakota, which have a higher risk of exploding than the pipeline would.
An enviromental assessment done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, published in May 2016, concluded that the Dakota Access Pipeline would not pose a threat to any of the nine endangered or threated species living in the area the pipeline would run through.
Espanola emphasized the importance of spreading awareness as an effective tool to show support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
“You have to make a difference,” Espanola said. “It’s time to take action now. Last week was the deadline to sit on your asses.”
Espanola advised supporters to pull their money out of banks which are lending to Energy Transport Partners and put their money in local credit unions.
According to Defund DAPL’s website, some of those banks included U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
Senior interdisciplinary studies major Sammi Lowman, who attended the rally, wrote several papers on Standing Rock last semester.
While doing her research, Lowman found that, in order to connect people to causes, we must “find shared values rather than just appealing to facts across the political spectrum.”
“For Standing Rock, for instance, the shared values would be that the ranchers care about the land and people of Standing Rock care about the land, but for different reasons and so we need to work together to find a solution that works for everybody,” Lowman said.
Lowman’s family is from North Dakota where she said “the whole countryside has been transformed because of the oil industry.”
“I don’t think it’s for the better and I don’t want to see that happen in Idaho,” she said.
Students who are interested in learning more about fracking and oil mining in Idaho can attend a hearing of House Bill 64 on Wednesday, Feb. 1 in West Wing 37 of the Idaho State Capitol Building at 1:30 p.m. The bill will discuss permits for drilling and well treatment in Idaho.