Residents from all over the state of Illinois gathered in Chicago last week to demand that Gov. J.B. Pritzker declare a climate emergency in the state, ban fracking, and halt the proposed expansion of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Members of Save Our Illinois Land, Indigenous Environmental Network, National Nurses United, Sierra Club, and Extinction Rebellion joined residents in a rally protesting against the doubling of the pipeline.
In June, Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, put in a request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to double the capacity of the DAPL. Currently, the pipeline sees 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The company wants to increase this to 1.1 million.
The proposed expansion would mean new construction projects throughout the state of Illinois to install additional oil pumping stations. The pipeline currently runs from North Dakota, through several states, and ends in Illinois.
“The most direct way to address climate change is to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” one protestor told WBBM780.
The DAPL project has been one of the most controversial and opposed pipeline projects in history. Since 2014, Indigenous and environmental groups have fought hard to halt its completion and now its expansion. In 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, then in 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Standing Rock Sioux’s request to stop the pipeline construction. Since the beginning of its operation in 2017 the pipeline has seen at least 10 oil spills.
Earlier this year the tribe renewed the fight against the DAPL by asking a federal court to throw out the environmental assessment of the pipeline’s potential impacts, claiming the Army Corps of Engineers “never engaged with the Tribe or its technical experts, shared critical information, or responded to the Tribe’s concerns.”