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This Map Shows Why the Dakota Access Pipeline Fight Isn’t Over

by James Poulos

December 22, 2016
Carl Sack CC-BY

As gripping as the news around the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy has been, sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words – or, in this, case a map.

Cartographer Carl Sack took to the Huffington Post with his illustration, which shows key flashpoints, current and former Sioux land, and, of course, the current path of construction that’s been halted by a throng of protestors.

“What’s wrong with the picture above isn’t the routing of the pipeline,” Sack wrote. “What’s wrong is that the pipeline project exists to begin with. Some say it’s a good alternative to dangerous oil-by-rail shipments of Bakken crude. Those are bad too.”

But it’s clear from the black and blue lines riddling the map why the fight isn’t over. Unless the pipeline is going to be abandoned – unlikely, given the stakes, the money, and the potential customers involved – it has to be rerouted somewhere, and that somewhere will have to involve crossing the Missouri river.

Sure enough, how that can be done without imposing at least some risk to somebody’s drinking water is anyone’s guess. (Potential perils rerouted the DAP away from Bismarck, North Dakota, to begin with.) But the Trump transition team has pledged to see it through one way or the other – although it also reaffirmed protestors’ First Amendment right to peaceful, protected protest, at least for now. 

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This Map Shows Why the Dakota Access Pipeline Fight Isn’t Over