Stevens: Politics Trumping Facts on Dakota Access

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens put facts over fiction in a new opinion piece discussing the political debate surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Writing in the Washington Examiner, Stevens discusses how protesters from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have tried and failed stop the landmark infrastructure project under the pretense of false, overwhelming debunked claims.

“In the case of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, the opposition believes they are indeed entitled to their own facts despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As they lost on those facts and the law, opponents turned to political allies to stop a project that was duly approved and is nearing completion,” Stevens wrote.

He goes on to note that activists have now resorted to backdoor political meandering to achieve a goal that both the facts and the law have proven wrong.

“Unable to persuade regulators or the courts to stop the pipeline, opponents have turned to friends in high places. This is exactly the sort of insider political trading that so many Americans of all political persuasions are sick of seeing. Americans are losing faith in our political institutions precisely because they think the powerful and well-connected use their influence to bypass procedures the rest of us have to follow.”

Stevens concludes with the sobering reality, that if not stopped, reckless political posturing will have far-reaching consequences.

“A political intervention now will do more than squander $2.5 billion, lay off thousands of workers and block access to an important supply of domestic energy. It will further undermine faith in the American political process at a time when that faith is at historic lows. Surely it would be best to stop the politics and let the proper legal and regulatory processes work.”

Click here to read Stevens’ full opinion piece.

MAIN Coalition Responds to Today’s Oral Arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals

Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Dakota Access. The Court is currently weighing whether or not to grant the Standing Rocks request for a emergency injunction against the pipeline project. Upon the hearing’s conclusion, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:

“We’re not going to attempt to divine the outcome of today’s hearing, however as Judge Boasberg articulated in his thoughtful and thorough opinion on September 9, the Army Corps of Engineers followed the proper regulatory process in consulting with 55 Native American tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux, 389 times.  Judge Boasberg went on to say in his opinion “that the Corps exceeded its NHPA obligations”.   Even the Appellate Court, today, pointed out the Standing Rock Sioux tribe refused to engage several times with the Corps and Dakota Access, LLC. 

The MAIN Coalition continues to believe as long as the ultimate decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline is determined based on the facts, science, engineering, and the rule of law it will be allowed to be completed and become operational without delay.”

For more insight on the case, we invite you to check out Forbes contributer and New York University law professor Richard Epstein’s analysis on the legal proceedings.

MAIN Coalition Statement: Obama Administration Schedules Consultations

On Friday, September 23, the Department of the Interior, Justice Department, and Army Corps of Engineers released a schedule for upcoming consultations with Native American tribes. Following the announcement MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:

The MAIN Coalition agrees that tribal consultations should continue to play an important role in prospective infrastructure development. With regards to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the official and judicial records show the Army Corps of Engineers and the company held at least 389 consultations with 55 Native American tribes as well as several hundred other consultations with interested individuals, groups, and elected officials throughout the course of the permitting process. In part as a result of those consultations, the final path avoids culturally and environmentally sensitive areas.

The process to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline was done correctly; and these new discussions should not impact, retroactively, any ongoing infrastructure project or any infrastructure project that is currently under review for permitting. To do so would have a chilling effect on private infrastructure development, negatively impact our economy, and cost Americans their jobs.

Should the federal or state governments update their regulations moving forward, they should be transparent, consistent, and reasonable so the regulatory process can ameliorate the concerns of our nation’s various constituencies while not stifling America’s economy.

MAIN Coalition Statement Regarding Recent D.C. Circuit Court Announcement

In response to the recent announcement from the D.C. Circuit Court on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an emergency injunction, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:

We respect the process and appreciate the Court moving as quickly as possible to hear the facts. Judge Boasberg was very clear in his thoughtful and thorough opinion that the Army Corps of Engineers followed the letter of the law by consulting with 55 tribes at least 389 times, as well as hosting hundreds of other consultations with members of local communities across the pipeline’s route. We continue to believe that if the ultimate decision is based on the facts, science, engineering and the rule of law the Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed and become operational.

When It Comes to DAPL, Stick to the Facts

Today, The Hill, published a piece by MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens where articulated the facts behind the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Stevens wrote, “During the ongoing protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the public has had a harder time getting to the facts about this important project. Untrue claims are circulating again, and the record needs to be set straight.”

Some of the important facts raised include:

  • The pipeline does not cross reservation land, and runs almost entirely on private property. In fact the pipeline parallels an energy corridor of electrical transmission lines and the Northern Border Pipeline across Lake Oahe.
  • The entire route through North Dakota was approved by the North Dakota Historic Preservation Office.
  • Native American tribes had multiple opportunities for input with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throughout the permitting process.
  • Multiple meetings were held with community leaders and the public throughout the review phase of the project.
  • The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to halt construction of the pipeline near its reservation. Judge Boasberg concluded after an extensive review that “the Tribe has not shown it will suffer injury” if construction proceeds as planned.

Through all of the noise of this very public protests, these facts remain the same and should guide any future intellectual discussion on the pipeline. Inciting violence, trespassing, or damaging property is

The Myths and Facts Behind the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Claims

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has made many accusations toward Dakota Access and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that just aren’t true. We’ve debunked many other claims as false, and discovered that hundreds of consultations were held on the pipeline project with Native American tribes and nations. Here are a few more of the myths being spread, and the real facts behind them. 


The more you look, the more you realize that the claims of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their radical environmental allies at EarthJustice don’t add up.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and public discourse is important on a project of this scale. But after nearly two years of thorough review and final approval by multiple state and federal regulatory agencies, the time has come to construct the pipeline.

Dakota Access Review Exemplifies Thorough Energy Permitting Process

It’s safe to say the Dakota Access Pipeline has received one of the most thorough reviews of a domestic infrastructure project in recent memory. For many of us this project has been a long time coming, but even just this weekend, despite all permitting decisions completed, opponents of the project are still attempting to halt its progress because according to their message, nobody was listening.

But the facts show this just isn’t true. Everyone had a fair opportunity to present their interests and multiple jurisdictions approved this project independently of one another.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • 3 North Dakota Public Services Commission Hearings
  • 4 South Dakota Public Utility Board Meetings
  • 18 Iowa IUB Meetings in each county along the pipeline route
  • Nearly a month of official testimony in front of the Iowa Utilities Board
  • Nearly a year and a half of review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

And that doesn’t even take into account the thousands of comments and letters sent in to each jurisdiction throughout a nearly two year process. So if two years of time in front of public servants from four states and the federal government isn’t enough time to make a case then it’s hard to imagine any scenario where opponents of Dakota Access would be satisfied.

Dakota Access Approvals Means Continued Benefits

With the decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to permit the full construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) welcomes the continued benefits of pipeline construction across all four states.

Already we’ve seen the results of thousands of American jobs constructing this important piece of infrastructure especially the increase in sales by local businesses to pipeline workers. All along the route hotels, restaurants, and store sales are booming as a result of a new customer base.

For nearly two years, the MAIN Coalition has brought together supporters from businesses to laborers to farmers. We’ve encouraged the construction of this safe and reliable form of infrastructure for the long term benefits of our region. But in the short term construction progress has been speedy and safe and the benefits are already here for our local economy.

Earthjustice Using Standing Rock Sioux Tribe To Further Own Agenda

A new blog post published by the Say Anything Blog reveals the underlying motives of the environmental law firm representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a new lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Rob Port, founder and editor of the popular North Dakota-based political blog, says Earthjustice has no interest in ensuring safe, responsible infrastructure development, but rather seeks to shut down all oil and gas projects.

“…Earthjustice isn’t out to promote safe, responsible oil and gas development, goals all reasonable people share. They don’t want a safe pipeline, per se. Rather, they’re out to choke oil and gas development to death by obstructing energy infrastructure with legal maneuvering.”

Port goes on to emphasize that the Standing Rock has every right to challenge the approval of the pipeline, but cautions that working with Earthjustice challenges the legitimacy of their concerns.

“If the tribe wants to scrutinize in court the approval of this pipeline, which will be built in a place where it could have significant impacts on their community, that’s their right.

But by partnering with Earthjustice the tribe is sending the wrong message to the public. While we can, and should, take seriously the tribe’s interest in a safe and lawfully-approved pipeline project, that priority is going to get lost in Earthjustice’s larger objective which is to kill oil and gas development.

The Standing Rock tribal leadership is doing their people a real disservice by allowing their legal standing to be co-opted by a group with unserious and politically extreme objectives.”

Read the entire post on the

Press Release: MAIN Coalition Applauds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Decision to Approve Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline

DES MOINES – The  Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) coalition today applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approval of the final permits necessary to construct the Dakota Access pipeline project in areas under their jurisdiction. Construction has already begun on other segments of the 1,172 mile project, which was approved by the four state regulatory bodies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois earlier this year.

Members of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now – a coalition of local businesses, labor unions, and agriculture, and other local economic development interests along the pipeline route – have long advocated for the project’s timely approval given the significant economic, employment, and energy security benefits derived from the project.

 “As a local farmer, I have long supported construction of this project and am pleased that today it becomes a reality,” Chairman of the MAIN Coalition and Iowa farmer Ed Wiederstein said. “It will provide untold benefits to the security of our nation and our economic future. The agriculture industry, in particular, relies on affordable, easy to access energy and the Dakota Access project will provide value for decades to come for the thousands of farmers across our region.”

Bill Gerhard of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades also applauded the Corps’ decision: “Thousands of American workers from labor unions throughout the Midwest are already benefiting from this project, and these final permits will secure their jobs for the entirety of construction. I’m proud of the men and women building this pipeline for adhering to best safety practices during construction and ensuring that the job is done right the first time.”

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, added his support as well: “The Dakota Access Pipeline has already provided a multitude of benefits for manufacturers throughout the Midwest and will continue to do so long after construction is complete. By sourcing raw materials from American companies Dakota Access has created an enormous market for American suppliers. After construction is finished, the affordable resources delivered by the pipeline will help to further power America’s industry. I’m very pleased to see these final permits approved.”

About the MAIN Coalition

The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from the agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council, with members in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois – the states crossed by the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.