From the Guardian:
The pipeline runs under the water supply used by the Standing Rock Sioux.
As I've aged, I've come to appreciate that engineers sometimes can build marvelously functioning wonders that achieve extraordinary capacities. There's the tiny computer on which I'm writing, for example. Or my friend's hearing aids which actually work, unlike the horrid appliances my grandmother futilely adjusted for 20 years.
But sometimes engineers simply make mistakes -- I think of the design flaws that mean that the steel reinforcement in the new Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge is most likely rusting out after only a few years of use.
Most especially on grand projects from which some entity expects grand profits, engineers have perverse incentives to over-estimate how perfectly their creations will function. Think Fukushima and the engulfing, "impossible" tsunami that made for the meltdown of its nuclear core. Or the Hanford nuclear waste depository where a tunnel containing deadly radioactive material collapsed this week.
DAPL seems all too likely to be one of the latter kind: grand, ambitious, but sloppy in execution and under-regulated by compliant state and federal officials.
When the land and water are despoiled, the life on it dies. That ought to count for something.