Note: I may get some facts wrong as I am still trying to get up to speed, which is difficult when this story is barely covered by major news outlet.
Basically since Keystone XL Pipeline didn't get approve, this is the sequel, the new idea to ship oil in a pipeline across the midwest, this one by Energy Transfer Partners.
IIRC the pipeline was originally to go near Bismarck (North Dakota capital) but didn't get a path approved there. However it did get approval to go near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. I *believe* that it is on former reservation land (and presume former means the U.S. government broke a treaty). In any case, the oil company wants the pipe to pass under the river about 1 mile from their water intake of the only source of water for their tribe. And it isn't only their water they are worried about, this is part of the Missouri river, a spill could be catastrophic downstream as well.
Add it this that this is sacred land for them. They have prayer sites there, plus burial grounds containing the remains of their ancestors.
This matter has attracted protestors, both native and non-native, from all across the U.S.
Protestors have been overwhelming peaceful, remaining non-violent and unarmed. It has involved trespassing (again - in an attempt to protect their sacred sites and their sole water source, the Missouri river).
Despite this matter being before the court the Army Corps of Engineers approve the oil company's plan.
Despite this matter being before the courts the oil company bulldozed some land anyways, which the protestors say includes their sacred sites.
Despite the protests being overwhelmingly peaceful the oil company has hired private security contractors and protestors have been not just maced with pepper spray but have also had dogs sicced on them with protestors being bitten.
One of the people running for President was actually up there recently, and is actually up on charges for trespassing and vandalism (they spray painted on a bulldozer).
One news source suggested that the major news outlets haven't cover this (despite how, at this point, it lends itself to a if-it-bleeds-it-leads kind of story) is because through ad dollars they are supported by oil companies, and the banks involved. They said that often on major news channels you will see ads by oil companies that aren't even selling anything (but the image they want to project), and that companies sometimes do this as a way of supporting news-outlets - which may get them some leeway. I remember seeing ads like that and I haven't watched T.V. on cable in a couple of years.
One of the court rulings is expected tomorrow, though I expect no matter what side wins that it will be appealed.
Edited by sierraleone, 09 September 2016 - 06:40 PM.