By Sandy Tolan for PRI

 Two Standing Rock demonstrators take to horseback as part of the Standing Rock demonstrations that peaked in 2016. (Photo: Robert Wilson, via PRI)

Two Standing Rock demonstrators take to horseback as part of the Standing Rock demonstrations that peaked in 2016. (Photo: Robert Wilson, via PRI)

North Dakota officials were protecting a grand plan worth tens of billions of dollars. In that plan, the Dakota Access Pipeline, DAPL, is North Dakota’s linchpin. It allows a glut of fracked oil from the massive Bakken formation to flow southeast toward the US Gulf Coast. Bakken oil is part of, what boosters call, the “North American petroleum renaissance.” The US is now the world’s third largest producer of crude oil, pumping more than Iran and Iraq combined. 

Turns out, the pipeline company Energy Transfer, backed by North Dakota officials, police, and the National Guard, fought that huge battle at Standing Rock, in large part so that US crude oil could leave the country.

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