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Stevens: ‘Fake News’ Shaped Dakota Access Debate

In a new opinion piece, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, outlined how ‘fake news’ shaped the public debate and governmental decisions regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We saw fake news play a critical role in the public’s outcry in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Stevens wrote. “From my perspective, it was astounding that individuals and even elected officials were so loose with the truth and so unaffected by the facts.”

Stevens went on to outline several instances when blatantly false information shared by pipeline opponents, including multiple images that originated decades ago during completely unrelated events.

“[A] Facebook image — ostensibly of thousands of Standing Rock protesters — was shared more than 400,000 times. However, a critical eye and a quick Google search debunked the image as a photo from Woodstock 1969.”

As Stevens noted, the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy highlighted an extreme example of how ‘fake news’ can have impacts far beyond its origins as white noise on social media channels. In the case of Dakota Access, it is evident that the steady flow of false information allowed mainstream media and elected officials to miss key facts about a vital piece of national infrastructure.

“Taken together, this groundswell of armchair activism, coupled with the perpetuation of fake news, helped support an ultimately political decision that halted a $3.8 billion dollar infrastructure project,” Stevens wrote. “It’s concerning that as we move forward, elected officials and policymakers could so easily be swayed by rhetoric lined with demonstrably false statements.”

Read Stevens’ full opinion piece here.


Jay Timmons: From Day One, President Trump Should Focus On Strengthening Our Energy Security

In an opinion piece by Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Manufacturers Association and David Taylor, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, the authors highlight the importance of the Dakota Access Pipeline as a part of broader American energy security.

This should be a Day 1 priority for the incoming Trump Administration.

“There are no shortcuts to creating a climate that fosters job growth and strengthens manufacturing, but investing in our country’s energy infrastructure is a good place to start.”

The controversy that arose during the Dakota Access Pipeline allowed for an environment of political interests to supersede the needs of America’s energy future and the needs of American workers. But with promises to end the “business as usual” attitude that pervades Washington DC, President-elect Trump has a head start with the promise of this important energy project.


Fmr. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple Sets Record Straight on DAPL

Former North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple penned a favorable opinion piece in the Billings Gazette pushing back on anti-pipeline protesters and defending DAPL. The piece was also picked up by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Published just hours before he left office, Dalrymple highlighted a number of key points, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s failure to participate in the PSC’s review of the project, the relocation of the tribe’s water intake, existence of a preexisting energy corridor, the fact that the project doesn’t cross SRST land, and Judge Boasberg’s ruling.

According to the governor these are the essential facts:

  • “Not one person from the tribe attended any of the meetings and hearings publicly noticed by state regulators over the course of two years. The pipeline’s permitted route never crosses tribal land.

 

  • Those opponents who cite the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie to dispute who owns the lands conveniently ignore the later treaty of 1868.

 

  • Finally, with respect to the pipeline’s proximity to the [SRST] Reservation’s water supply, its existing intake was already scheduled to be shut down by the end of 2016 and replaced by an intake in South Dakota, some 70 miles away.”

In addition, the former governor denounced protesters for spreading false information via social media, use of professional agitators, harassing pipeline workers, and defying his evacuation order.

“Yet, when news spread that the pipeline project was legally moving forward, various environmental groups began contacting [SRST] Chairman Dave Archambault to express their desire to come to Cannonball, North Dakota, and begin a “Stop the Pipeline” movement. Apparently, the chairman saw no reason to discourage their plans.”

The governor concluded by thanking members of law enforcement for their professionalism in the face of often violent protesters.

“We are proud of the restraint and professionalism of our law enforcement officers. Attacks on their conduct have been totally inaccurate, and I hope that time will help reveal the facts surrounding this ongoing situation, and that reason will prevail.”


Washington Times Editorial: Complete The Dakota Access Pipeline

A new editorial by the Washington Times called for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline and criticized the Obama administration for giving into the demands of environmental fanatics.

“Anyone surprised by Barack Obama’s last-minute decision to pass on the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline hasn’t been paying attention. Going to war, even with foes of fossil fuels, has rarely appealed to the man who prefers to lead from behind. Rather than provoke the wrath of environmentalists so late in the game, Mr. Obama is determined to punt and run out the clock. It will fall to Donald Trump to take on those who forced the president to take a knee. Once he takes office, the new president must not duck.”

The editorial further noted the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lack of participation during the regulatory review of the project and encouraged President-elect Trump to not waver on his promise to authorize the pipeline’s completion.

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have refused to cooperate with pipeline builders, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and pipeline partners have conferred with 55 Indian tribes on nearly 400 occasions over two years, altering the pipeline route more than a hundred times to accommodate tribal and environmental consideration. Once sworn in, the man who celebrates “the art of the deal” should offer the Indians one they can’t refuse, and move on to complete the pipeline.”


Infrastructure Key to Strengthening U.S. Energy Security

A new report produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy finds that America’s energy security is as its strongest point in two decades thanks to domestic oil and gas production.

The 2016 edition of the Index of U.S. Energy Security Risk, which examined an array of geopolitical, economic, reliability, and environmental risk factors, shows that total energy security risk in 2015 dropped to its lowest level since 1996. “The outlook for U.S. energy security is as bright as it has been since we started measuring it back in 2011,” wrote Karen Harbert, president and CEO of Institute for 21st Century Energy.

energy-21-energy-security

Not surprisingly, key infrastructure investments like the Dakota Access Pipeline are critical to domestic energy security and newly-defined role as the world’s leader in oil and gas production. In her opening remarks, Harbert makes clear that the benefits of America’s revolution “are contingent on the ability to move these resources to domestic and global markets” and cautions against the politicization of infrastructure needed to sustain continued growth.

On Dakota Access, the report notes the thorough review the project underwent:

The Dakota Access pipeline will link North Dakota’s oil fields with refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast. The project has undergone extensive stakeholder consultation and environmental review, received its national permits, and would run along existing rights of way for a natural gas pipeline and transmissions line. As of this writing, Dakota Access is awaiting a final Army Corp of Engineers easement and is being held up by Keep it in the Ground activists, which means that most North Dakota crude oil will continue to travel by rail.

This is not the first time Dakota Access has been discussed in the context of national security. Earlier this fall, former U.S. Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich called the Dakota Access Pipeline, “a critical step forward in shoring up U.S. energy security by providing safe and efficient transportation of oil inside the United States.” Kauzlarich, who served as ambassador to Bosnia and Azerbaijan under President Bill Clinton, added that Dakota Access will reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and mitigate market volatility.

Whether it be strengthening the nation’s energy security or providing a safer, more efficient way to move domestic energy resources, the Dakota Access Pipeline has demonstrated its merit to the region and the country.

Image courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.


Burgum Wants DAPL Completed, Rule of Law Restored

Just hours after being sworn into office, North Dakota’s new governor, Doug Burgum, made clear that he wants the Dakota Access Pipeline completed and the rule of law restored. In a video message, Burgum called on the Obama administration to issue the final easement needed to complete the project and provide federal resources to assist local law enforcement.

“For months, the Obama administration has politically stalled a legally permitted project that had already been through an exhaustive review process and has twice been upheld by the federal courts,” Burgum said. “Failure to finish it would send a chilling signal to those in any industry who wish to invest in our state and play by the rules.”

Burgum also addressed the hefty price tag of the months long protests in Morton County, saying that North Dakota taxpayers should not be responsible for the $17 million the state has spent to counter unlawful activities.

The message came a day after now former Gov. Jack Dalrymple defended the multibillion dollar infrastructure project and blasted protesters for ignoring straightforward facts and trampling the legal process.

“It is unacceptable that the facts of the permitting process were not only omitted in much of the discussion among those who disagreed with the pipeline, but were twisted in order to paint the state of North Dakota and federal government as reckless and racist,” Dalrymple wrote in an opinion piece published in the Billings Gazette.


Investor’s Business Daily Editorial Board: Trump’s Energy Revolution Can’t Come Soon Enough

An Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted the politics at play surrounding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to not release the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Politics: If you want to know why the economy has been struggling so much under President Obama, look no further than the arbitrary and capricious decision by his Army Corps of Engineers to block the Dakota Access pipeline it had already approved.”

The board touches a theme we have remained concerned about throughout the federal review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the arbitrary proverbial hand of government, quashing an established process if it conflicts with a political agenda. These types of government interferences are dangerous for investors, who can be threatened with project cancellation despite following all state and federal laws and receiving approvals.


Boston Herald Editorial: Editorial: An oil pipeline puzzle

The Boston Herald editorial board questioned the decision by the Obama Administration to not issue the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline at Lake Oahe making reference to a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer.

“According to U.S. Rep. Kevin [C]ramer [sic] (R-N.D.) writing in The Wall Street Journal, the original 1,142-mile route (from North Dakota oil fields to Illinois refineries) was modified 140 times in response to comments from other tribes and commenters in a process the tribe said was not “real” consultation. The tribe’s participation consisted mostly of statements that it didn’t want the pipeline around.

Various other Missouri crossings are nearby, Kramer wrote. The oil pipeline was to have been placed beside an existing natural gas pipeline 100 feet below the riverbed. None of the affected land is owned by the tribe.”

There are many questions left unanswered, including the legality of such an action after an entire review process was completed. As the board notes, “Answers would be good. A plan B for safely getting the oil to market would be even better.”


© 2016