How did the out-of-state activists protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline arrive at the North Dakota site? How were the sleeping bags they will use when the high plains winter arrives manufactured and shipped to the stores at which they were purchased? What are the plastics made of in the phones they have been using at Standing Rock, N.D.?
Many things make the global economy possible, but a major one, unfortunately, continues to be oil. The world is addicted to crude because it is energy dense and easy to transport. Practically nothing modern Americans do — including protesting an oil pipeline — would be possible without it. This inescapable fact means that demand for the stuff is huge. And if there is a market for a product, suppliers will attempt to meet that demand, in all sorts of ways. In and around North Dakota, that has meant sucking it from underground shale formations and transporting it out of the area by truck and train. Pipeline transport would make it safer.