The Dakota Access Pipeline will cross the Missouri River twice, and if and when the pipeline breaks, the state of the neighboring Ogallala Aquifer may be threatened.
Why is this bad news?
- If spread across the U.S. the Ogallala aquifer would cover all 50 states with 1.5 feet of water
- If drained, it would take more than 6,000 years to refill naturally
- More than 90 percent of the water pumped is used to irrigate crops
- $20 billion a year in food and fiber depend on the aquifer
If the Dakota Access Pipeline is constructed, one of the world's greatest water supplies will be at stake. Put simply, if even a minor pipeline break occurs near in proximity aquifer, the United States could have one of its most vital sources of irrigation for crops threatened.
This is where Big Money and U.S. Citizens must finally shake hands and acknowledge that the economic benefits of the former can mean taking the lives of the latter.
"Make no mistake. You screw with the Ogallala Aquifer and you screw with this nation's heartbeat. Twenty percent of the irrigated farmland in the United States depends upon it. Pumping the water from it is all that has kept the Dust Bowl from coming back, year after year. Any damage to it fundamentally changes the lives of the people who depend on it, their personal economies, the overall national economy, and what we can grow to feed ourselves. Absent the aquifer, and the nation's breadbasket goes back to being a prairie, vast grasslands that the people who first crossed them referred to as a desert. You end up with dry-land corn and some dry-land wheat." - Charles P. Pierce