I don't know who you are but you obviously know me since you used my first name in a comment. Look, I used to do a lot of oilfield work here in Texas but I have also done a lot of other work to help environmental causes. My personal belief as far as the use of natural resources in neither preservation nor exploitation which is exactly what the oil industry is doing right now, exploiting fossil fuels in lieu of finding alternative, clean, renewable fuels all because of the huge profits. Morality is irrelevant to them.. I believe in conservation which means that we need to carefully use the resources available to use at present but cautiously until we find a substitute. The use of fossil fuels are killing us as Exxon knew almost a quarter century ago but hid in the name of profits. Unfortunately, because of the greed of the oil companies, they are doing all they can to not only hide other supplies of energy but also hiding or at least attempting to hide the damage they cause as well.
Because there are native American artifacts in the region the pipeline company is currently routing their pipeline they are endangering sacred grounds or at least grounds sacred to the native Americans who have occupied that land far longer than the oil companies have been around. That the pipeline company wishes to proceed through those lands regardless of the artifacts is no different than if they were trying to run their pipeline through a cemetery which no court in the land would allow. Further, water is far more valuable than oil. Pipelines leak (remember the explosion in Brennham, Texas that killed twenty eight people who were soundly sleeping in their homes? It was a LNG pipeline that developed a leak. Overnight the gas, being heavier than air settled into the vally that the pipeline ran above. In the early morning hours an unsuspecting motorist was driving through the area, completely unaware of all of the natural gas they were driving into. The spark from a spark plug set the whole thing off incinerating the family driving the car and resulting in a massive explosion that destroyed several neighborhoods and killed twenty eight people. Even in the little town outside of Austin that I used to live we had a pipeline accident. A Pedernales Electric Cooperative employee mistook a stake that he thought was for the placement of a power pole and drilled into a 950 psi Exxon LNG line. He was instantly incinerated and the resulting explosion threw basketball sized rocks over a mile and a half. I know this because I had friends who had these huge rocks land on their houses.
Now, to what the Lakota Sioux claim to be doing and that is protecting the local groundwater. They are right! If that pipeline leaks, which they all do at some point in time, it WILL contaminate the groundwater. We have already contaminated around 80% of our groundwater supplies through the drilling of oil wells where salt water contaminates entire fresh water aquifers, through fracking, which the oil companies refuse to divulge what chemicals the use for their hydraulic fracturing fluids, and pipeline leaks. We simply don't have adequate fresh water reserves for the growing population to use. Climate change is already affecting rainfall rates all across the country. Look at the west coast and the Los Angelas metropolitan area. They are turning into an expansion of Death Valley. Here in Texas the first Trinity Aquifer is bone dry. That's the aquifer my grandparents used via windmill to pump water to use for their household purposes. It lasted maybe forty years but again, that was just with windmills pumping the water. That well by the way was 780 feet deep. The second Trinity Aquifer has been polluted by drilling for oil and was contaminated by subsurface salt water. The third and last Trinity, which is what our personal water well drew from is almost depleted and our personal well was almost 900 feet deep. Yes, we have reservoirs, both surface and subsurface (the City of San Antonio who is currently reliant on the Edwards Aquifer is running out of water and has resorted to pumping water into dry underground aquifers to store for future use without losing so much to evaporation) but at the same time a major south Texas aquifer has been rendered useless because of fracking.
Private business may have some rights but those rights do not include the destruction of other's drinking water supplies. Sure, they can have a major leak and say they are sorry but no amount of money or good intentions will ever make that water supply again safe for drinking (and they will do everything they can to avoid accountability, believe me.) I stand with the Lakota and people in general. The pipeline company is going to have to find a safe, alternate route if they want their fucking pipeline.