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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.”


Bismarck Tribune Editorial: Decision on easement is lousy policy

A recently published Bismarck Tribune editorial heavily criticized the Obama Administration for its handling of the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The editorial board called the decision not to grant the easement “bad policy” and one that “has the fingerprints of politics on it.” Additionally, “the decision by groups involved in the protest to maintain a presence at the camps until the pipeline issue is resolved means law enforcement resources will continue to be strained. It means continued problems for the SRST Reservation. The corps decision to conduct an additional review of the project means there will be likely more protests, more costs for law enforcement and more damage to SRST reputation in North Dakota. The responsibility falls on the corps and administration.”

According to the editorial, “The Tribune has been supportive of pipelines as a means of moving oil since the oil boom began. Pipelines are more efficient for moving oil than railroads and trucks.”

The article went on to praise Dakota Access “as the safest river-crossing pipeline ever built.”


Richard Epstein: Lawless Bureaucratic Obstruction Is No Substitute for the Rule of Law in the Dakota Access Decision

In a piece published in Forbes, Richard Epstein, an NYU law professor, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School examines the Army Corps of Engineers Nov. 14 and Dec. 4 memoranda regarding the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline at Lake Oahe and discusses how the Corps in fact favors the granting of the easement and completion of the project.

Following an in depth legal analyses of the rulings previously put forward by Judge Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in addition to the memos issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Epstein finds the December 4th memo, “wholly flawed, manifestly political, and insufficient.”

What is surprising is that from a legal sense this case is indeed groundbreaking, because to Mr. Eptseing’s “knowledge there has never been a situation where a project has lost its permits after the government, through the Army Corps, won its litigation against an opponent to the project.”

Despite multiple straightforward findings addressed in the memos, that oftentimes support the final construction of Dakota Access at Lake Oahe, the Corps has found reasons to dig deeper that are less than satisfactory and in fact offer no real solution or alternative other than further study, despite the fact in-depth analyses have already taken place over two years.

As the legal case draws on, it becomes more clear that death by delay appears once again to be a favored tactic, as no real solutions are offered by project opponents. But within a few short weeks, the Corps arguments may be moot as a new presidential administration prepares to take office, and new pro-infrastructure orders are handed down.


NY Post Editorial “Pipelines Are the Safest Form of Moving Gas and Oil”

A recent editorial from the New York Post highlighted the stacked deck that pipeline companies often face in New York, a movement that seems to be permeating the greater discussion on pipelines nationwide.

In fact, according to the editorial board “the Dakota fight was complicated by supposed wrongs to one Native American tribe, but plenty of the protesters were driven by green ideology: a movement that slams every pipeline as an “environmental threat.”

The reality is that pipelines are in fact the safest means of transporting oil and gas, and where pipelines do not exist the oil and gas does not stop, it simply is moved on less safe forms of transportation. In many cases this is also more expensive, a cost passed along to regular folks at the pump or in our heating bills.

In the words of the editorial, the protests surrounding the pipeline are a hysteria, with little thought given to the long term cost implications that will unfortunately be borne by working men and women throughout the country.


USA Today Editorial Supports Completion of Dakota Access

The USA Today Editorial Board called for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a piece published on December 5th.

According to the board’s piece, despite attempts to block the project, oil produced in North Dakota will not be kept in the ground.

“The issue of where to route pipelines is always going to be a sticking point. Native tribes are not the only ones who would prefer to not have them in or near their backyards. But pipelines fill a vital need for the economy and for America’s energy security, and therefore need to be built.

As for combating climate change, the ultimate goal of many environmental groups, taking on individual pipelines is not the answer. The answer is to impose costs on carbon emissions so polluters can’t keep using the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for greenhouse gases. That way, markets can figure out the best way to adapt.

Pipeline fights can make for a great spectacle. But, no matter which side wins, they will have little impact on the environment beyond their immediate environs.”


Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Highlights Inaccuracies In Dakota Access Reporting

A recently published Wall Street Journal op-ed from Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota dispels many of inaccuracies being reported about the project and highlights the extensive process and review of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

In the op-ed Congressman Cramer states the following facts:

  • This isn’t about tribal rights or protecting cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land under discussion belongs to private owners and the federal government. To suggest that the Standing Rock tribe has the legal ability to block the pipeline is to turn America’s property rights upside down.
  • Two federal courts have rejected claims that the tribe wasn’t consulted. The project’s developer and the Army Corps made dozens of overtures to the Standing Rock Sioux over more than two years. Often these attempts were ignored or rejected, with the message that the tribe would only accept termination of the project.
  • Other tribes and parties did participate in the process. More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route. The project’s developer and the Army Corps were clearly concerned about protecting tribal artifacts and cultural sites. Any claim otherwise is unsupported by the record. The pipeline’s route was also studied—and ultimately supported—by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (on which I formerly served), the State Historic Preservation Office, and multiple independent archaeologists.
  • This isn’t about water protection. Years before the pipeline was announced, the tribe was working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps to relocate its drinking-water intake. The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.
  • This isn’t about the climate. The oil that will be shipped through the pipeline is already being produced. But right now it is transported in more carbon-intensive ways, such as by railroad or long-haul tanker truck. So trying to thwart the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas could have the opposite effect.

What’s left that this issue could be about? Politics.

Unfortunately all the processes and laws in the world could not stop the politics of an outgoing administration attempting to cement a legacy. But the beauty of politics is that they are hardly permanent.

In 44 days a new presidential administration will have the opportunity to do the right thing; enforce the law, end a dangerous standoff, and release the final easement for Dakota Access to continue construction.