President Trump will have much to celebrate this Saturday as he marks his 100th day in office. During his short time in the White House, President Trump has already delivered on his promise to prioritize infrastructure development and support American energy independence.
Some of the President’s more notable accomplishments include:
Approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines;
Expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects; and,
Streamlining permitting and reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturers.
More broadly, President Trump has ignited a long overdue conversation on the importance of revitalizing America’s aging infrastructure and this summer, is expected to join with Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to roll out a $200 billion infrastructure package.
“We applaud President Trump’s actions to support investment in America’s infrastructure,” said MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens. “Domestic infrastructure development will lead to the creation of thousands of American jobs, a stronger economy, and a more modern nation. We look forward to working with the administration as well as state and local officials to promote the benefits of private and public infrastructure investments.
MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement following news that Dakota Access, LLC informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the Dakota Access Pipeline will begin interstate crude oil delivery on May 14:
“We are pleased to hear that within a few weeks the Dakota Access Pipeline will be placed into service and begin safely transporting valuable domestic resources to key refining markets. This is proof-positive that if a company follows the rules and works within the regulatory process, major infrastructure projects can be successful. This project has already created countless economic benefits, from good paying jobs to tax revenues. The Dakota Access Pipeline will be the newest piece of America’s vast pipeline infrastructure, which spans more than 2.5 million miles across the country. Safe, reliable infrastructure investments like the Dakota Access Pipeline support a stronger, more resilient economy that benefits all Americans.”
In this May 1, 2014, file photo survey crews in boats look over tanker cars as workers remove damaged tanker cars along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River near downtown Lynchburg, Va. | Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber
New government data obtained by the Associated Press shows that nearly 24,000 safety defects were found when federal inspectors examined rail lines used to transport crude oil around the country. The defects, which included worn rails, broken bolts, and cracked steel bars, were discovered on 58,000 miles of track across 44 states.
What’s more concerning? Federal regulators also reported that railroad operators routinely failed to correct deficiencies after they were identified, according to the Associated Press.
“All of this is a call for continued vigilance,” said Steven Ditmeyer, a former senior official at the Federal Railroad Administration. “One defect or one violation of the right kind can cause a derailment.”
Over the past decade there have been at least 27 oil train accidents in the U.S. and Canada, including a 2013 derailment in Quebec that killed 47 people. In the U.S., defective fasteners were cited in a 2015 derailment in Montana that resulted in a 27,000 gallon crude oil spill. In 2014, unrepaired steel cracks in Virginia caused 15 cars to derail and burst into flames along the banks of the James River.
As former veteran energy regulator Tony Clark recently wrote, “pipelines remain, by far, the safest means by which to transport [our] energy goods.”
Now that construction of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline is complete, it’s only a matter of time before the line begins transporting crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region to key refining markets.
First announced in 2014, this $3.78 billion infrastructure project has already resulted in countless economic and fiscal benefits for communities throughout the Midwest. Whether it was as big as a multi-million dollar purchase from an American heavy equipment manufacturer like John Deere or a record setting season for a family-owned ice cream store, it is clear that this project made a difference in the lives of many.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline has already meant jobs for thousands of Midwesterners and billions of dollars in economic activity,” said MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens. “Siting, constructing, and operating this pipeline is a testament to the expertise and dedication of community leaders, government officials, engineers, and laborers – all working together to develop and safely transport our nation’s energy resources. Now that the pipeline is operational, it will help fuel our nation’s economy for decades to come.
“We are hopeful that President Trump continues to alleviate regulatory hurdles and uncertainty, allowing our nation’s infrastructure to grow and our manufacturing and agricultural sectors to flourish,” Stevens added.
Environmentally sensitive, economically beneficial, and vital to our nation’s energy future – projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline are critical to creating jobs and strengthening our economy.
Drilling rig operating in North Dakota’s Bakken region.
Oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken region is expected to rise more than 20 percent this year just as the Dakota Access Pipeline comes online. By offering more affordable and diversifying access to key refining markets, the pipeline can help level the playing field between the Bakken and other U.S. shale plays that have benefited from better access to refineries.
Industry analysts like RBN Energy’s Rusty Braziel say the pipeline will cut shipping costs by $3 to $5 per barrel and amount to at least $540 million in annual savings for producers who previously relied on truck and rail to bring oil to market. “Economics for drilling in the Bakken will look better because of DAPL,” said Braziel.
Market players, including Hess Corporation CEO Jon Hess believe the $3.8 billion pipeline will accelerate output in the region, which reached its lowest point in almost three years last December. “We’re back to growth in the Bakken,” Hess said in a recent interview with Reuters, adding that his company this year plans to triple the number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota.
Hess isn’t the only company beefing up operations. In fact, the drilling rig count in North Dakota has risen 40 percent since the Trump administration gave the final green light for the project and is forecast to jump another 10 percent or more by years end.
This production bump is not only a win for American energy independence, but also for the State of North Dakota which is expected to gain $100 million or more in annual tax revenue, according to a recent Associated Press report.
A steady rise in oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken Region is sending local employers looking to fill hundreds of new positions needed to keep up with a growing workload. According to the Fargo Forum, the Job Service North Dakota estimates that there are between 1,000 and 1,500 job openings in northwest North Dakota.
“We need people,” said the manager of the Job Service’s Williston office, Cindy Sanford.
Among those looking to fill positions is oilfield services provider Nuverra Environmental Solutions, which is currently having to turn down work due to a lack of manpower. The company is seeking to hire up to 500 new truck drivers, which according to Bill Milner of Rockwater Energy Solutions, is a position in high demand across the region.
Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, noted that the industry may need to get creative in their marketing of new job openings. Ness also stressed that it is important for job seekers to point out that the availability of affordable housing has increased for workers looking to come to the area.
Looking ahead, Daniel Stenberg, economic development coordinator for McKenzie County, said he’s looking to host a job fair in Watford City later this year. “They have plenty of work and not enough employees right now,” Stenberg said.
Today the Trump Administration announced they have issued a Presidential permit to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (“TransCanada”) authorizing TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border in Phillips County, Montana for the importation of crude oil.
MAIN Coalition Spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement that the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline will be approved.
“We applaud President Trump and his administration in their ongoing support of our nation’s energy infrastructure by approving the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s decision to approve the permit after more than a year of politically-motivated delay sends a strong, positive signal to those looking to invest in our country that the U.S. is open for business. Under the prior administration, companies were forced to guess which and how laws and regulations would be enforced, ignored, or created on a whim. President Trump has ended that uncertainty allowing businesses to grow which should lead to a stronger economy and more U.S. jobs.”
Recent reports that anti-energy development activists have used blowtorches to damage the Dakota Access Pipeline are absolutely unacceptable for a project that underwent a nearly two year review process that resulted in a lawful approval by four states as well as the federal government.
The incidences, which were characterized as “felony vandalism” by the South Dakota attorney general’s office, broadens the scope of actions taken against the pipeline company since protests in North Dakota were shut down by state authorities following increasing violence and lawlessness. Similarly, in Iowa, Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem told the Des Moines Register that a similar attack took place south of Des Moines earlier this month.
What is especially frightening is that the damage to the pipe could have resulted in an even larger incident if the oil inside was ignited – likely killing the individuals who were attempting to do harm to the project.
Police departments from the state, county, and local levels are investigating the incidents – underscoring the importance of increased security around this and other projects from criminals who wish to do harm to America’s infrastructure network.
Earlier this afternoon a U.S. appeals court denied tribes’ request for an emergency order that would have temporarily prohibited oil from flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline 90 feet under Lake Oahe. The MAIN Coalition expects construction of the pipeline to be completed within the next few days and oil to move through the double-walled pipeline under the lake early next week.
In response to the Court’s denial, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens released the following statement:
“The Courts’ consistent support of the pipeline in these proceedings is the result of the company’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ dogged compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Although it is frustrating that those opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline are using the courts in a seemingly endless attempt to thwart this lawful project, we are heartened that the judges have continued to rule on the merits.
We hope that the Courts’ action, as well as President Trump’s promise to make infrastructure development in the U.S. easier and more predictable, will lead to more investment; ultimately creating jobs and strengthening our economy.”
North Dakota has the No. 2 best economy of any U.S. state and is No. 1 for job growth according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best States rankings. The annual survey, which ranked North Dakota No. 4 overall, said growing energy production and robust infrastructure were key to the state’s strong performance.
The Peace Garden State has benefited greatly from being at the epicenter of the U.S. shale oil boom. In 2004, oil and gas production accounted for just 2 percent of state’s economy, but by 2014 it was almost 16 percent. Several years ago, while much of the nation was suffering from hard economic times, North Dakota was attracting billions of dollars in investments and workers from around the country.
While falling oil prices have weakened production, North Dakota is still producing over a million barrels a day and has one of the lowest employment rates in the nation. The Bakken boon may have hit slow patch in the road, but the promising opportunities and benefits derived from this remote region are far from over.
Most recently, an analysis by the Associated Press found that cost savings provided by the Dakota Access Pipeline will not only benefit producers, but also amount to a more than $110 million gain in annual tax revenue.
This staggering increase has already lead the state’s budget director to begin crafting spending plans that take the added revenue into account and perhaps leading the state to become the No. 1 economy in the years to come.