Editorial: Proceed with the pipelines. They’re a better way to transport oil.

The Keystone XL pipeline, which would stretch over 1,200 miles and cost $8 billion, is a big project that has faced many hurdles. One of those was removed Friday when President Donald Trump gave the go-ahead for its construction.

Unfortunately, it’s also a big symbol for those who want to phase out the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible. That’s a shame, because the pipeline will make little if any difference in the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. Environmental groups would do better to save their ammunition to fight more consequential changes the administration is expected to pursue, such as rolling back federal regulations to limit coal burning and methane emissions.

President Barack Obama blocked construction of Keystone in 2015, claiming it would aggravate global warming and undercut American leadership on the issue. But a State Department review in 2013 found the effects would be minimal.

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MAIN Coalition Statement On Issuance Of Presidential Permit To TransCanada For Keystone XL Pipeline

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.”

Criminal Attacks on Pipeline Underscores Threat To Infrastructure

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.

Dakota Access Pipeline Is A Milestone For ND Energy Development

The demonized Dakota Access Pipeline will go into service soon, likely early this week, and will begin delivering 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil every day to a distribution hub, providing better access to important markets. In all the pandemonium over the pipeline, with months of noisy protests, the importance of the pipeline to North Dakota has been overshadowed.

The Dakota Access Pipeline will make North Dakota’s roads and railroad crossings safer, a big plus for public safety. It has the capacity to eliminate 500 to 740 rail cars or more than 250 trucks each day.

The $3.8 billion pipeline will bring as much as $100 million a year in additional tax revenue to North Dakota, a welcome infusion as the state struggles with low prices for energy and farm commodities. It will transform the economics of oil production by reducing transportation costs an estimated $3 a barrel. By increasing the competition among existing pipelines, it will help to further alleviate transportation costs. High transportation costs have long dogged Bakken producers.

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Tank Farm Neighbors Welcome Influx Of Oil

The living room window of Brian and Becky Stover’s 100-year-old farmhouse affords an unfettered view of a maligned and daunting neighbor across U.S. 51 — the Patoka Tank Farm and its newest tenant, the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The “farm” is a phalanx of bright white cylindrical bins, each climbing nearly four stories tall. A maze of chain-link fencing cautions against trespassers with signs denoting familiar oil titans such as Marathon, ExxonMobil and BP, which pipe crude oil into the farm and send it out to Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
A former Marine who sells eggs laid by Rhode Island red chickens for $2 per dozen, Brian Stover refers to the farm as “just a bunch of tanks with oil.”

He’s half-joking.

A company that tracks energy markets estimates that the Patoka Tank Farm, which is actually in an unincorporated area between Patoka and Vernon in Marion County, about 90 miles southeast of Springfield, has a capacity to store 18 million barrels of crude oil, the second-biggest concentration in the U.S.

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Appeals Court Denies Tribes’ Latest Appeal

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.”

To Understand Dakota Access Pipeline, Understand ‘Laches’

You could choose “Monday,” the day that oil could start to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline.

You could choose “protest.” Or “Trump.”

But if we had to choose the one word that best sums up the conflict over the pipeline, it would be this one:


Never heard of it? Neither had we—until we read U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s opinion last week, in which the Obama appointee denied the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes’ request to stop construction of the pipeline’s last link.

And Boasberg’s opinion centers on that word, “lache.” So let’s take a look at this word, which is little-known outside of legal circles but hugely useful in its descriptive power.

A lache is the doctrine that “a legal right or claim will not be enforced if a long delay in asserting the right or claim has hurt the opponent as a sort of ‘legal ambush,'” Law.com explains.

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Tubes, Tunnels, Pipelines And Progress

The Dakota Access Pipeline that triggered the resistance of the Indians, or Native Americans as some of them want to be called, is nearly complete and ready to take oil to the refineries. The Keystone XL Pipeline project, which endured an on-again, off-again status during the Obama years, is on again. It’s a new day for energy in America.

Soot-stained skies are largely a thing of the past, with tubes and tunnels transporting more and more oil beneath the surface of the land, and barely imagined wonders are soon on the way. Elon Musk, the visionary founder of SpaceX and the Tesla electric automobile, is experimenting with a transportation system that would send a bulletlike passenger pod speeding through a vacuum tube called a hyperloop at speeds of 600 miles an hour. A model is being tested now in the Nevada desert.

Mr. Musk is currently boring an enormous tunnel beneath the streets of Los Angeles, near his Space X headquarters, as part of a hyperloop system and a roadway to enable cars to escape traffic-choked streets above. But all that is in the future. Energy for the present lies in the pipelines.

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New Ranking Finds North Dakota Has No. 2 State Economy in the U.S.

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.

Cleanup Effort Concludes in North Dakota

The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers has finished cleaning up three Dakota Access pipeline protest camps that were on federal land in North Dakota.

The Corps hired a Florida-based contractor after the main camp and two others were cleared out and shut down late last month in advance of the spring flooding season.

Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight says a total of 835 industrial-size trash bins were filled and removed in the operation that wrapped up late last week. That doesn’t include materials such as lumber and propane tanks that were set aside for reuse or recycling.

The total cost of the operation hasn’t been tallied yet, but the Corps has estimated that it could cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million.

Throughout the cleanup process, nearly a dozen dogs have been rescued from the site and taken to shelters in the Bismarck area.

Law enforcement has also begun scaling back, fewer than 70 officers from Morton County and the ND Highway Patrol are typically stationed in the area. Parts of the sizable law enforcement “forward operating base” are also being dismantled which costs about $210,000 weekly to run.

With efforts to cleanup and dismantle the camps concluding, we can only hope that peace and stability will return permanently to southern North Dakota.