June 3, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT
The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline began shipping oil Thursday
after months of protests by nearly 300 tribes created a national
movement and drew international attention.
The 1,172-mile pipeline
is expected to carry 520,000 tons of oil daily from North Dakota to
Illinois via South Dakota and Iowa, according to Energy Transfer
Partners, the company that developed the pipeline.
Protesters, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, have strongly objected to
the construction of the pipeline since April 2016, saying that its
route under the Missouri River poses a threat to drinking water.
The Missouri River is the primary source of water for the 10,000
members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and millions of people,
including 29 Native American tribes, live in the Missouri River Basin,
an area that crosses 10 states and more than 2,500 square miles in