The North Dakota Pipeline

Hello, everyone! Today’s post will have some maps, so if you are of the geographic phobic variety, perhaps you want to scroll by quickly.

This is a map of the 48 contiguous states with Alaska and Hawaii shown in the left corner. It’s a pretty common map children see when learning about geography. (To the point, however, that some of them end up growing up thinking that Alaska is located near Mexico. But that’s a whole different kettle of fish).


I’d like to draw your attention to the middle top of the states, a place we usually refer to as a “fly over” state, meaning that it’s not a place people go to on a regular basis, just a place the planes fly over. (The US is biiiiiiiiiiggggg). It is a state we fondly refer to as North Dakota. (South Dakota is, well, south of it. I know, we’re so creative!). To the north of North Dakota is one of our neighboring countries, Canada, which we typically have very friendly relations with.


Lately, however, it has become less of a fly over state and instead become very very busy. Why, you might ask? We might sum it up in a single word: oil. Oil becomes gasoline which helps our cars, trucks, and planes go. (And the United States is biiiiiiiggggg with very, very, VERY primitive mass transit if any at all, especially in rural places. That, also, is another kettle of fish). We are trying to get oil from Canada into other places in the country. Oil, in this form, go boom if it’s looked at funny, so planes are a nono.

So, what’s the problem  you ask? Well, there are two routes that the oil company has proposed. One of them through a mostly white neighborhood, one through a First Nations/Native American reservation. (The treatement of the indingenous peoples by our government? Not exactly what we might call stellar). If you’ve guessed already that the mostly white neighborhood has voted against the pipeline due to possible issues with the pipeline contaminating the drinking water, congratulations, you win a cookie!

People are protesting the whole shenanigans, with some saying that hey, it’s safer than moving the oil by train. Which is not untrue – but doesn’t really solve the problem that the pipelines are still going where they aren’t wanted. This picture sums up the current relationship:


It was looking like he law of the land would eventually prevail. The Army Corp denied the easement.

Annnnnd then Trump was inaugrated. He issued an executive order to advance the pipeline anyway. As of this writing, it remains to be seen precisely how this will play out in real life. But chances are, given the other stunts he’s pulled thus far, it won’t be good.



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