Yesterday, opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline rallied again in front of the White House, this time featuring Senator Bernie Sanders alongside protesters.
Despite multiple facts to the contrary, protesters opposed to the pipeline insist that the pipeline is illegal and should be stopped because it crosses tribal lands, did not receive a thorough review, has destroyed sacred sites, and will contaminate the Missouri River.
Protesters were seemingly bolstered by the extraordinary decision by the Executive Branch to supersede a federal court ruling by formally requesting a halt to construction through a combined statement from the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, and Department of the Army.
But here are the facts that the protesters often seem to overlook:
- The pipeline was reviewed and approved by 4 state utility regulators and the federal government. Permits were granted for construction by the North Dakota Public Services Commission, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, Iowa Utilities Board, Illinois Commerce Commission. A Section 404 Permit under the Clean Water Act was granted for construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- The pipeline does not cross the land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In fact, Dakota Access received voluntary easements from 100% of the property owners in North Dakota.
- Dakota Access will have no impact to the Missouri River or any water resources in the region. This was determined during the regulatory review of the project. As many as 8 pipelines already pass under the Missouri River, transporting hundreds of thousands of gallons of petroleum products every day.
- The project will not disturb historically or culturally significant sites. Numerous historians, archeologists, and experts reached this conclusion during their review of Dakota access.
While opponents’ claims might appeal on an emotional level, they lack any factual backing.