For the better part of last year, protesters poured into North Dakota to agitate against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Despite the fact that the company behind the project planned to use only private land and had secured all the necessary permits, the pipeline became a left-wing cause of the day — in part because members of the Standing Rock tribe argued the plan posed a threat to ancient burial grounds and the area’s water supply.
Turns out, however, the biggest environmental threat to the area was the protesters themselves, who turned their camp into a massive, filthy trash heap that now threatens the very drinking water they claimed they wanted to protect.
The protests began early last year over the pipeline, slated to run from western North Dakota to southern Illinois. The project would cross underneath both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as under a section of Lake Oahe, a half mile upstream from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.