By Mike Maturen
In recent weeks, our country has been faced with yet another standoff between the government and her citizens. Like so many before this one, violence has ensued.
With the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, there are many sides to the issue, and all of them are complicated and seemingly inexorably intertwined. The sides are not willing to compromise, yet compromise is needed. All sides seem to have valid (if flawed) arguments, but none is willing to hear them.
At odds are the pipeline company, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, environmentalists and a whole coalition of farmers, ranchers and citizens joining forces with the Tribe.
While I understand the argument for getting oil piped to where it is needed, there are alternatives that must be looked at. In addition to the cost of building the pipeline, the environmental costs must be weighed as well.
The pipeline company says that it will use the latest and greatest technology, ensuring safety of the people and the surrounding environment. But even new technology can be a problem, as the explosion of the Alabama pipeline just this week has proven. A similar problem with the Dakota Access Pipeline could pollute the waters of the Missouri River for years to come.
While we await new advances in clean energy, the government and the oil companies must explore safer and more efficient ways to transport oil.
Finally, this standoff once again highlights the poor treatment of Native Americans by the United States government. The pipeline, according to the Standing Rock Tribe, would violate so-called “treaty land” that was established many years ago by the federal government. Many tribes have had their treaty lands violated over the years. This poor and unfair treatment of this country’s natives must stop.
The native peoples had their land taken away from them by the government, and then bits and pieces of it “given back” in reparation. If the United States government is to be seen as a government of good will, ethics and character, it must not continue to violate the treaties it has established.
I call for the government and the pipeline company to stand down. Meetings must be established with all parties, and solutions hammered out that are fair to all. It is time for the American government to do the right thing…for our country, for our business, for our environment, and most importantly for our people…ESPECIALLY the people who lost so much at the foundation of this country.