According to academics, the recent veteran support of the Sioux tribe at Standing Rock to oppose the North Dakota pipeline project is likely “the biggest gathering of its kind of former military personnel since the early 1970s when U.S. veterans marched against the Vietnam War.”
The pipeline is owned by Texas based Energy Transfer Partners LP and is scheduled to be built adjacent to the Sioux’s Standing Rock reservation. The Sioux have said the pipeline could contaminate water supply and destroy sacred tribal lands. Over 4,000 Military veterans, led by “former Marine Michael Wood Jr and Army veteran Wes Clark Jr, son of retired U.S. general Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO” arrived in North Dakota to support the Sioux. The independent veteran group “raised $1.1 million through online crowdfunding to help transport, house and feed veterans at the camp.”
According to the Business Insider, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it turned down a permit for the pipeline’s completion, handing a victory to the protesters.” Although the protesters can claim victory for now, many are awaiting the eventual battle against the Trump Administration. Donald Trump has already said he wants the pipeline built to create new jobs for Americans.
While they await their 2017 battle, many see this as the beginning of a much larger protest against environmentally unsafe energy pipelines. "There’s a lot of these pipelines being built around the county. Flint (Michigan) has a water crisis. So we’re going to see if we can keep this movement going and really change some things in America,“ said former Navy veteran. Matthew Crane.