This year Circle of Blue found that water stresses activated big confrontations over policy, resource supply, and economic stability around the nation and the world.
By Keith Schneider
Circle of Blue – December 21, 2016
Dakota Access Pipeline and Flint
The two biggest water stories of the year in the United States in 2016 — the Dakota Access pipeline protests and the lead contamination scandal in Flint — were quests for justice. Citizens in Flint and North Dakota felt disrespected by political decisions that threatened their health and their land yet did not take their concerns into account.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe drew a line on the North Dakota prairie to stop a big oil pipeline from crossing the Missouri River. Aided by the largest gathering of Native American tribes in history – a gathering that summoned a public resistance that not even the White House could ignore – work on the crossing stopped in December pending completion of a study to assess alternatives to the pipeline route.
The Standing Rock confrontation illustrated how risks to water supply and quality give rise to powerful civic campaigns against polluters. The Dakota Access pipeline blockade also introduced new online organizing tools to galvanize broad support.