Dakota Access Pipeline

Sammy Gallagher
December 15, 2016

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2016


Fig. 1: A photo of Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors in North Dakota. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The United States currently consumes, on average, 19.4 million barrels of petroleum products per day. Of the 19.4 million barrels of petroleum products that are used each day, it is estimated that 9.5 million barrels of the petroleum is imported. There is an ever increasing pressure from many United States citizens to decrease our dependence on foreign petroleum products. One controversial solution to solving the United States' dependency issue is the use and promotion of the Dakota Access pipeline. [1]


The DAPL is 1,172 mile long pipeline that will expand oil production from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The purpose of the pipeline is to direct oil from North Dakota to refining plants in more distant places in a more efficient manner both economically and time wise. The DAPL will have the capability to transport around 470,000 barrels per day. This oil will reach markets in the midwest, east coast, and the Gulf coast. [2]

Why It's Controversial

In North Dakota the Sioux Tribe of Fort Yates recently "filed a lawsuit against the United States Army Corps of Engineers...the Tribe argues that the environmental assessment conducted for DAPL did not reflect important negative ecological, cultural, socioeconomic, and public health impacts on the Tribe and region." [3] The Tribe continued to voice its frustration as they stated that the DAPL did not comply with the Paris agreement. The DAPL would in fact be increasing fossil fuel emissions instead of decreasing emissions. [2]

What Comes Next?

The tribes protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline have been camping out in demonstration for months.Many are sympathetic to their cause and have offered up food, supplies, and water. The government has expressed their concern regarding the protests, and the government is hopeful the tribes will soon stop protesting. The tribes claim they will remain outside in protest until their concerns are addressed, and urge others to join them.

© Sammy Gallagher. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] "BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016," British Petroleum, June 2016.

[2] J. Sills et al., "Scientists Stand with Standing Rock," Science 353, 1506 (2016).

[3] D. Xaykaothao, "Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Continue on Thanksgiving Day," NPR, 24 Nov 16.