Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dakota Access Pipeline Teaching Resources

The Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp. Click for photo credit.
In November and December last year I wrote a seven-part series on the Dakota Access Pipeline that provided a geographic and historic review of the controversy. The series has proven to be one of the most popular in On the Brink history. However, I never put them together on a single page for easy access. I am remedying this problem today by providing a list of the seven posts with a brief summary about each one. Links for further reading are embedded in each post. Note that at the conclusion of each of the essays are questions that require quantitative, qualitative, analysis, and synthesis responses. They can be used for classroom discussion or homework. There is no doubt in my mind that the Dakota Access Pipeline issue will be taught for the next few decades in environmental science and policy courses. Hopefully the resources below will be useful.

Part 1. North Dakota. This post reviews the geography of North Dakota. It is a place few have visited and this essay reviews the fundamental geography of the state in order to better understand the setting.

Part 2. Boom! Fracking and the Bakken Shale. This post reviews fracking technology and the geology of the source of natural gas and oil in the region, the Bakken Shale.

Part 3. The Pipeline Project. This section of the series summarizes pipelines in the U.S., pipeline technology, and the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Part 4. The Heart of the Matter:  The Missouri River. Water is central to the environmental issues associated with the pipeline. The site where the protests occurred is near the Missouri River. This post reviews the significance of the Missouri River to the conversation by reviewing some of the hydrologic and climatological influences on the development of the Missouri River drainage basin over time.

Part 5. The Standing Rock Sioux. This post reviews the history of the Standing Rock Sioux and also provides some contemporary statistics about the tribe.

Part 6. The Legal Issues and the Protest. This post summarizes information on the legal issues associated with the pipeline project and discusses the protests that peaked in 2016.

Part 7. Ethical Considerations and Conclusions. The series concludes with a review of the main ethical issues associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

News broke as I wrote Part 7 in December of 2016 that the pipeline was to be rerouted. Since the new president took office in January things have changed tremendously. The protesters have largely been removed by force and it appears as if the pipeline project will move forward. This will be one of the most talked about environmental justice issues of this generation.

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