Water is a resource that the U.S. has taken for granted for many years. But times are changing.
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The safety of our water supply has come into question across the country. The lead-laced water in Flint, Mich., chemical contaminants PFOA and PFOS in Alabama tap water, and water tainted with PFCs in Colorado are just a few of the more recent examples.
Water touches every facet of life, including food security, so it’s a scary feeling to not be able to trust our water sources.
In recognition of the country’s growing concerns surrounding water resources and infrastructure, the White House, along with about 150 other institutions, pledged more than $5 billion on March 22, 2016 (World Water Day) to improve the nation’s water accessibility and quality. “Water challenges are facing communities and regions across the United States, impacting millions of lives and costing billions of dollars in damages,” according to White House statement.
Yet despite these good intentions, new concerns over safe drinking water continue to emerge.
The most recent potential water crisis is centered around the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. In addition to destroying sacred lands and burial grounds, crossing the pipeline under the Missouri River means that any oil leaks would contaminate the only water supply for the reservation. Their concerns are not unfounded as the oil industry has a history of pipeline leaks and spills.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Indian Nations have been protesting the pipeline since April with meaningful messages of “Protect our water” and “Water is life.”
With the help of Earthjustice, the tribe filed suit against the Corps of Engineers, saying the Corps violated the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Protection Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. At press time, a federal appellate court granted an injunction to temporarily halt construction over certain portions of the pipeline as it considers these tribal claims.
With the future of our water supply already in question, can we afford to take a chance in irrevocably contaminating yet another water source?
From The Editor