Former Ambassador Encourages the Completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Retired Ambassador Richard D. Kauzlarich weighed in on the Dakota Access Pipeline with an op-ed published by Fox News, where he encouraged the construction of the project, highlighted the safety record of pipelines versus the alternatives, and reflected on his own experience of promoting infrastructure development during his time abroad.

The retired statesman carefully laid out the point that there is an economic case for the Dakota Access Pipeline:

As critical as domestic oil production is, it is a stranded asset without the means to transport crude oil to end-markets. The Dakota Access Pipeline will do just that, carrying approximately 470,000 barrels per day from production areas in North Dakota to major refining markets and facilities efficiently and safely. The alternatives of rail and truck transport are far more expensive and risky to the environment than an oil pipeline.

Kauzlarich pushed back at the notion the mistruth often repeated by protestors at the Standing Rock Reservation, alleging that the pipeline somehow took a shortcut to get approval:

Key findings from the USACE review process refute many arguments that the SRST has used to legitimize their protests. Dakota Access officials have surveyed the entire pipeline route on foot, met with local communities, and conducted numerous environmental and archaeological surveys to assess any potential impact construction may have. Neither water supplies nor culturally significant sites have been found to be affected by the construction and operation of Dakota Access.

Finally, the former ambassador invoked his own experience of constructing a pipeline spanning volatile regions in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey:

Emotions ran high as the many political, commercial and environmental issues were resolved and the decision made to build a pipeline – a pipeline that goes under rivers, across areas of contested ownership, and through regions of cultural and historical importance.

Over the past decade, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline (with over twice the capacity of Dakota Access) has proven to be economically beneficial and environmentally safe. That, I believe, is what Dakota Access will prove to be as well.

Read the full article here.