Protesters in Columbia rally against pipeline project

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COLUMBIA – Protesters gathered outside City Hall Tuesday to rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Protests have been happening nationwide against the Dakota Access Pipeline project, or DAPL. The pipeline would transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, with portions of it under the Missouri River. Part of the pipeline construction is taking place near a Standing Rock Sioux reservation on sacred sites.

Protester Brian Powell said he believes the pipeline could hurt the environment.

“A lot of pipelines are bursting and it’s totally destroying our ecosystem, our waters, and basically, if we don’t have water, we don’t have life,” Powell said.

Laura Wacker, one of the organizers of the protest, said a spill in the pipeline could affect many people.

“Over 50 percent of Missourians get their water supply from the Missouri River or its aquifers,” she said. “If there were to be a spill in this pipeline that’s set to cross it two times before it gets to us, our water supply would be affected.”

Both Powell and Wacker, the sustainability coordinator for Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, want the protest to raise awareness of the Stop DAPL movement.

“If just holding a sign up that says ‘No Dakota Access Pipeline’ gets somebody to look it up and investigate it, I think we’ll have a lot more supporters,” Wacker said.

Protesters chanted “we are protectors of the waters of life” and “we don’t drink oil, keep it in the soil.” They held signs saying “we all live downstream” and “put people over pipelines” and they recited poems and speeches. They then walked a circle around downtown, passing Bank of America, a corporation that they said funds fossil fuels.

Wacker said she wants people who oppose DAPL to write to members of congress and to call the White House with their complaints.