North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer offered a lengthy, detailed response to Dakota Access Pipeline critics during a Friday morning speech on the House floor. Cramer, an advocate for American energy independence, addressed both the Obama Administration’s inaction and the unlawful protest activities.
“Mr. Speaker, for more than 3 months, thousands of rioters disguising themselves as prayerful people, peaceful protesters, have illegally camped on Federal land owned or at least managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, owned by the taxpayers of this country. … At the center of this issue is an administration that refuses–not just refuses to follow the rule of law, but enables and encourages the breaking of the law, beginning with the fact that thousands of illegal protesters are allowed to camp, to trespass on federally owned land.”
Cramer, who served as one of North Dakota’s utility regulators for nine years before being elected to Congress, went on to emphasize that pipelines like Dakota Access are the safest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport our energy resources. Without the pipeline, Bakken producers will still send product to market, but will be forced to rely on less reliable alternatives like railcars and trucks, Cramer added.
In addition, Cramer strongly disputed misguided rumors about decisions made during the routing of the pipeline.
“[The Dakota Access Pipeline] was always planned for this location for a very good reason, Mr. Speaker. … The main reason this route was chosen was because it was the least intrusive on the environment, on waterways, on private property, and on cultural resources. The other locations that were under consideration that were not chosen crossed many more bodies of water and were much closer to many wells and cultural resources and very important historical resources. It was 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas. This is and was the best route because it is an existing corridor. In this same corridor, there is already a natural gas pipeline. There is already a large electric transmission line. That is why it was chosen.”
Cramer concluded by discussing the impact the months long protest is having in North Dakota, noting that the state government has had to borrow $17 million to cover law enforcement costs.