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I appreciate learning about the perspectives and feelings of people participating in the “Showdown at Standing Rock” (HCN, 1/23/17). Much of this has been lacking in the news. What I would find useful now are investigative articles that address a number of questions:

• I do wonder how this pipeline and its route came about, and what its effect would be on reducing truck and rail transport of oil out of the region. I have read that the local tribes did not get involved in the routing until 2014, years after the planning started. Did no one from the tribes or their agencies attend early scoping hearings or read legal notices?

• I understand some of the archaeological surveys did not reach out to the local tribes. Was this done deliberately by Energy Transfer Partners’ contractors?

• I understand that the route goes near the reservation and through the traditional lands of the tribes; however, legal standing for fighting the route depends on treaties that were broken long ago. Is there precedent for success in such a fight?

• The protests revolve around protecting water resources from oil spills. What is the record of spillage in the Northern Plains from pipelines of what age, versus truck and rail transport?

Feelings, good intentions, outrage, and plans for future protests are fine to learn about. However, I also appreciate HCN for enlightening facts and analysis.

Larry N. Smith
Butte, Montana

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