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Erin Shelton

Professor Busser

English 3080

15 February 2017

Delving into the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a leading source of debate

over the last year. The pipeline, initially approved by the Army Corps

of Engineers, would extend over four states and transport hundreds of

thousands of crude oil barrels daily, however, the Sioux Tribe of North

Dakota have protested against the advancement of its construction.

Author Justin Worland, wrote, What to Know About the Dakota Access

Pipeline Protests, published on October 28, 2016, in Time Magazine,

and details the facts and reasoning behind the Dakota Access Pipeline

protests. Worland successfully details the pipeline protests to his

audience by including reputable sources and evidence, effectively

utilizing emotional appeals, and presenting a balanced view; however,

there are a few instances of cognitive biases and qualifiers, which may

limit the strength of Worlands argument.

Before analyzing the argument itself, it is important to provide

background on the writer, so that we may gain a sense of credibility,

and address his audience, so that we may better justify his style and

organization. Justin Worland is a reporter for Times Magazine and


writes on topics such as technology and energy. Worland graduated

from Harvard University in 2014, with a Bachelor of Arts in History,

where he was the managing editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper.

Worldands article is directed towards Times general readership.

According to Time Media Kit, Time Magazines advertising resource, the

magazines U.S. audience is a median age of 50 and has an average

household income of $100,000. With this in mind, we can establish

that the layout of the article, bold section headings that each begs a

question, is an effective tool for the audience to easily understand the

Dakota Access Pipeline and its protests.

In the beginning of the article, Worland briefly summarizes what

group is protesting the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and

why they are protesting, to save their rights and land. He addresses

that the protests have recently gained national attention because of

the thousands of people who have joined Standing Rock to voice their

oppositions alongside the tribe. Worland implicitly addresses these

larger debates surrounding the protest by addressing issues such as

Native American rights, climate activism, and environmental

protection. In context, these issues are essential in understanding the

larger debates surrounding the pipelines construction. The Dakota

Access Pipeline is a source of controversy because according to the

Sioux tribe, the Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately or

sufficiently address them in the permitting process. In turn, the


proposed pipelines land survey was based upon a 1985 survey,

resulting in the destruction of sacred burial ground.

Worlands article, What to Know About the Dakota Access

Pipeline Protests is expository in nature because it evaluates evidence

and concisely breaks down a topic. His main claim is that the Sioux

tribe is protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline because it crosses into

sacred burial ground, poses a threat to their water source, and would

contribute to man-made climate change. Although his piece is

explicitly expository, when using Toulmins Model of Argument,

Worlands stance becomes evident: he is among the opponents of the


Throughout the article, Worland effectively utilizes the modes of

persuasion, specifically ethos and logos. He includes several credible

sources, including reports of The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials

Safety Administration (PHMSA), ABC News protest coverage, and The

New York Times reports of the Obama Administrations temporary block

to construction. These sources increase the authors credibility as well

as strengthen the argument. As previously mentioned, Worland is a

Harvard alumni, which further establishes his ethos as an author.

Alongside the appeal to ethos, Worland appeals to logos by stating

facts about the pipeline such as, The Pipeline and Hazardous

Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than

3,300 incidents of leaks and ruptures at oil and gas pipelines


since 2010. This statement logically backs the overall argument

that the pipeline will disrupt the tribes clean water source.

Despite the effectiveness of the persuasive appeals applied,

Worland presents a few fallacies and biases in his exposition.

Throughout his article, he presents a balanced account of the Dakota

Pipeline Access Protests. However, with these fallacies and biases, the

balanced view becomes slightly unbalanced. Firstly, he subtly makes

an appeal to celebrity. He states, More recently, celebrities and

public figures like actor Shailene Woodley, actor Mark Ruffalo and

civil rights activist Jesse Jackson have traveled to North Dakota in

solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. By addressing these

protesting celebrities, Worland lessens his appeal to logos.

Secondly, when Worland presents both the supporters and

opponents views, he biasedly presents the supporters of Dakota

Access Pipeline. He states:

Supporters of the pipelinewhich include state and local

government leaders have showed little interest in

accommodating the project's critics, particularly the

protesters on the ground. North Dakota Governor Jack

Dalrymple has called in the National Guard as well as an

army of other police officials. More than 140 people were


arrested this week, even as construction on the pipeline has


Worland does not give facts or evidence as to why the pipeline

may be beneficial for supporters (as he did for the opponents); he

instead addresses the neglect and extreme measures they

implement to the protest. This is also an example of a qualifier

because it limits the strength of the argument. Although these

biases and fallacies may lessen ethos and logos, they are

ultimately what allow us to decipher Worlands stance on the


This is also possible by analyzing the articles data and

warrants. The data, warrants, and backing align similarly with

Worlands appeal to logos because they are based on research and

statistics. An example of a data is when he embeds a link to the formal

complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief filed by the Standing

Rock Sioux Tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He states,

The tribe has also [sued] the Army Corps of Engineers, which

permitted the project, alleging that the agency violated the National

Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy

Act (NEPA). By providing a link to the court ordered complaint,

Worland backs up the claims of the protest. An example of a warrant is,

Environmental activists say the pipeline would contribute man-made


climate change by building up the countrys oil infrastructure. They

insist that fossil fuels- including the vast reserves in the Bakken Shale-

need to be kept in the ground to protect the world from the worst

effect of climate change. This warrant bridges the gap of the claim

and the data. Finally, Worland presents a rebuttal by attempting to

present both opponents and supporters responses to the pipeline. The

rebuttals purpose is to present the counter-argument of an audience

member possibly presenting a circumstance where Worland has not

provided both sides of the argument.

Ultimately, Worland presents an effective argument by citing

reputable government and news sources and employing emotional

appeals. He gives a concrete presentation of facts in a very readable

and organized manner. However, despite these efficient tools, the

strength of the argument is weakened by Worlands fallacies and

biases. Had the appeal of celebrity and the cognitive qualifier bias

been avoided, the argument would have held to be stronger.

Works Cited

Adamcyzk, Alicia. "Dakota Access Pipeline Could Devastate Standing

Rock Sioux Tribe | Money." Time. Time, 2 Nov. 2016. Web. 10 Feb.


Healy, Jack, and John Schwartz. "U.S. Suspends Construction on Part of

North Dakota Pipeline." The New York Times. The New York Times,

09 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

"The Dakota Access Pipeline is the Best Way to Move Bakken Crude Oil

to Market." Dakota Access Pipeline Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

Worland, Justin. "Dakota Access Pipeline: What to Know About the

Controversy." Time. Time Magazine, 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 10 Feb.