By now, you’ve probably encountered the conflict between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the energy company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). Maybe you’ve seen the ubiquitous #NoDAPL hashtag, noted the celebrity arrests, or even panicked as you thought half your Facebook friends had suddenly booked tickets to North Dakota.
The fight is a complex one, and has morphed into a conflict resembling both the protests over the Keystone pipeline and the nationwide pushback against the brutality seen in Ferguson, Charlotte, and elsewhere. On one side, you have the Standing Rock Sioux, who live on a reservation in North and South Dakota. On the other side, Houston-based ETP, which is proposing an underground pipeline that comes close to reservation. The conflict speaks to the general distrust of oil pipelines as well as the centuries-old tension between Native tribes and the U.S. government.
Here’s how a pipeline meant to move oil across a few states became a nationwide lightning rod.
In June 2014, natural gas and propane company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) announced it had the commitments needed to move forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline, an underground pipe from a geological formation called the Bakken Formation to Pakota, Illinois.