Competing groups are trying to define the Dakota Access pipeline debate. So where does the truth lie? – Los Angeles Times

 In Business

Opposing sides in the increasingly tense standoff over the Dakota Access oil pipeline have found little to agree on. But on this fact there is no dispute: Sometime between 3 and 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 21, a young woman demonstrating against the pipeine nearly had her arm blown off. 

But agreement ends there. Depending on the point of view, the explosion that mangled Sophia Wilansky’s left arm happened either because police launched a concussion grenade, or because a propane canister rigged by activists exploded in her hand.

The horrific injury to Wilansky, who remains in a Minneapolis hospital facing multiple surgeries to save her arm, exemplifies the war of conflicting narratives over a portion of the 3.8-billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline being built in North Dakota. 

Her injury is the latest major incident in an eight-month fight to define the pipeline battle as competing values of human and Native American rights versus the rule of law, environmental protection versus public safety. Pipeline opponents fear a spill would pollute waterways and say construction would desecrate lands tribes hold as sacred. 

The explosion that injured Wilansky occurred during a 10-hour clash at the Backwater Bridge near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The standoff began around sundown Nov. 20 and continued past 4 a.m. the next day. Each side, police and protesters, portrayed the other as dangerous and violent.  

Videos showed white trails of smoke, showers of orange sparks, and clouds of tear gas hanging overhead as protesters chanted “Water is life” amid urgent shouting for medical assistance. 

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