INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Economic experts claim the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline will benefit the local economy, but some Hoosiers say the project is a step in the wrong direction.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday giving the pipeline the green light.
Less than 24 hours after the ink dried, Anna Powell said she started calling lawmakers and asking for them to fight the pipeline.
“I was devastated,” she said. “Any time we devalue our marginalized people’s voices, it’s a threat to democracy.”
Powell is a local chef who loaded a U-Haul with food and fed hundreds of people Thanksgiving dinner at Standing Rock, an Indian reservation near the pipeline’s proposed route.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has fought the pipeline for months. The company behind the pipeline claims the chances of a spill are slim, but protesters fear the pipeline will pollute Standing Rock’s source of water and destroy sacred burial and prayer sites.
“Donald Trump said, America first,” Powell said. “I think we need to ensure that all of America is first, then. We can’t pick and choose who we favor and listen to.”
The pipeline would travel from Illinois to North Dakota.
It would supply a refinery in Whiting, Ind. and another in Easter Illinois. Both refineries provide gas across Indiana.
Dr. Matthew Will, a finance professor at the University of Indianapolis, expects the pipeline to lower local gas prices.
“It’s going to increase the amount of production in those two facilities,” Will said. “It’s going to increase the distribution of gasoline and all of that is going to have a ripple effect and cause job creation throughout the state and region.”
Peter Grossman, an economics professor at Butler University, agreed that the pipeline could lower the prices of Indiana gas. He added that it is cheaper to ship oil by pipeline than by rail.
“There’s no reason not to build it,” Grossman said. “It makes every sense to complete it.”
President Trump said the pipeline is “subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated.”