Protesters in Joplin join a national movement to stop a controversial oil pipeline project in North Dakota. The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is being built from North Dakota to Illinois. Backers of the project say it'll carry crude oil to major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective manner. The Standing Rock Indian Tribe in North Dakota says some of its sacred land has already been ruined by the project.
Today, people in Joplin showed they stand with the Rock Indian Tribe's efforts to move the project elsewhere.
Joplin and Cannon Ball, North Dakota: Two different places where there are two protests. But there's on message.
"We are standing up for the fresh drinking water, which is in limited supply anyway for millions and millions of people," says Ron Burch with the Green Alliance of Southwest Missouri.
Burch posted on Facebook details of this protest a couple of days ago.
"Just within a couple of days, we've had about a hundred people show interest. So I mean, that's pretty impressive, honestly," says Burch.
Protesters like Burch say the Dakota Access Pipeline, being built now to handle as much as 570,000 barrels of oil a day, could break later, contaminating nearby rivers and lakes.
"We've seen how many pipelines have exploded the past several months," says Burch.
The energy company behind the pipeline project says environmental safety will be continuously monitored. Protesters say there has already been disregard because of this project.
Vicki Walden, a protester, says, "Water cannons in subzero temperatures?"
Law enforcement in North Dakota sprayed water on protesters who, according to police, were building fires and compromising safety.
"We have Native Americans who are being treated as enemies of the state," says Walden.
Walden, who is a Springfield, Missouri area resident and traveled to Joplin for this protest, wants financial institutions like U.S. Bank to stop funding this pipeline project.
"I'm not paying money anymore to people who finance these things," says Walden.
Walden says she has recently closed her U.S. Bank account. But for the time being, the Dakota Access Pipeline Project shows no sign of being ditched.
A U.S. Bank representative had no comment on today's protests. But the representative did say there has been "a lot of misinformation" reported on this pipeline project. The representative would not elaborate further.
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