MAIN Coalition Members Speak Out on USACE Indecision

In light of yesterday’s announcement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, MAIN Coalition Members and Advisors spoke out on the decision to further delay the state-of-the-art Dakota Access Pipeline:

James “Spider” Marks, Major General (US Army retired), President of The Marks Collective
“The announcement today will lead to weeks of increasingly dangerous confrontations between police officers and professional agitators. The safety of local police and security forces, the citizens of North Dakota, workers on the ground, Tribal members, and the protestors themselves are now at further risk. Moreover, the continuing delay will push into the North Dakota winter, endangering the children and elderly who have chosen to camp out near Cannonball.”

“The “interests of individuals living in the general area of the right-of-way” that the U.S. Army Corps cites in their statement would best be served by rapid conclusion of this extended process and allowing the project to proceed. Since the Obama Administration intervened in September, more than 400 people have been arrested, hundreds of law enforcement pulled off other jobs to address the violent nature of some protests, and cattle and local livestock slaughtered. The 90-120 days of activity to finish this legally permitted project is critical to putting this community back together and restoring peace. This effort is motivated by a strategic imperative of enhancing and furthering national energy independence. This project has been as thoroughly vetted as any in history. Additional delays seem wasteful and solely politically motivated.”

Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council
“We are troubled by the decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which directly contradicts the will of four separate state governments, an original, thorough assessment of the project by the federal government, as well as two federal court rulings in favor of completing construction.

The risk of a potential spill has been thoroughly studied and extensive safety measures have been implemented to ensure the safe operation of the pipeline. By further delaying the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Corps of Engineers will only bring more instability to North Dakota, as protesters continue to threaten private property and workers along the pipeline route.”

Andy Peterson, President, North Dakota Chamber
“The Obama Administration’s decision to unnecessarily further halt the Dakota Access pipeline, in the name of additional consultation, runs counter to the thorough and careful process undertaken by the men and women of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota’s Public Service Commission. Two federal courts have upheld the process and agreed that the consultative process was thorough and complete. In addition, careful consideration was taken to the routing location of the pipeline and extensive safety mechanisms were included in its design to ensure the safe operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Our state deserves the opportunity to build and operate this project – to delay the project because of a 1,000 feet crossing – is unfair to North Dakotans who rely on our state’s energy resources to fuel and drive our economy. The Administration should strongly reconsider their decision.”

Mike Ralston, President, Iowa Association of Business and Industry
“I am disappointed by the decision to further delay this important national energy infrastructure project. Dakota Access has undergone extensive review and consultation at both the state and federal levels. The delay to a project that is already 84% complete is unfair to our state, the men and women building the project and all those involved from the top to the bottom of the supply chain. We have already seen the extent to which additional delay can have – violence, destruction of equipment, and threats against the individuals building or supporting the project. Enough is enough – the project should not be delayed any further.”

Bill Gerhard, President, Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council
“The Obama administration’s decision to continue delaying the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens the safety and jobs of thousands of Americans and jeopardizes billions of dollars in future development. Dakota Access has lawfully sought and received all of the necessary state and federal approvals, but now, after the project is over 84 percent complete, the White House wants to change the rules. This unprecedented action is harmful to American workers, businesses, and all those who depend on reliable infrastructure.”

Ed Wiederstein, Chairman, MAIN Coalition
“The decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to further delay the Dakota Access Pipeline and not grant the final easement today is extremely disheartening. This pipeline was thoroughly reviewed for nearly two years by the federal and four state governments, including by the Corps of Engineers.
This political decision to postpone construction jeopardizes the safety of all those who live and work near the project. The MAIN Coalition continues to stand for the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline in accordance with the will of the states, the original assessment by the Corps of Engineers, and the rulings of two United States Federal Courts.”

Chad Carter, IUOE Local 234
“The announcement today by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers only threatens further instability and continued protests on the Dakota Access Pipeline job sites, where hard working Americans are being threatened with violence just for showing up to work.”
“This decision will only further enflame protesters who have no regard for the rule of law, and will continue to intimidate workers, threaten acts of violence, and resist lawful removal by police. This decision undermining of the regulatory review process represents a threat to the future of infrastructure projects, and the future of American jobs for years to come.”

Dawna Leitzke, Executive Director, South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association
“Today’s decision to again delay the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline represents an unprecedented step in the wrong direction for the future of American energy independence. This fully approved and permitted project is over 80 percent built, yet Washington has now decided to upend existing law at the peril of American workers and businesses.”

Dakota Access Likely to be Safest Pipeline in State

In the worst-case scenario, a leak from the Dakota Access pipeline would release 19,000 barrels — about 800,000 gallons — of oil at a location near Williston. That is the maximum release on the North Dakota part of the 1,172-mile line, according to an analysis Dakota Access was required to complete as part of its permit application with the Public Service Commission.

Pipeline Worker, Tribal Lawyer Reacts to Appeals Court Decision

A federal appeals court yesterday removed a temporary injunction that halted work on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction can now resume in an area between Highway 6 and 1806. Supporters say it’s a step in the right direction while opponents say they’re not backing down from the fight. Ben Smith has the story. Cory Bryson says nearly 400 members of his labor union are working on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
He says they’re excited, and not too surprised at the decision. “It kinda reaffirms with what we’ve known all along that this is a one hundred percent legal project that Dakota Access is pursuing and building, and we’re just excited to be a part of it,” says Bryson, Laborers Local 563

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.

Dakota Access Nears Finish Line in North Dakota

Construction work on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is nearing the finish line in North Dakota according to a progress report posted by Public Service Commission (PSC).

According to the Bismarck Tribune, DAPL’s September construction report shows that 87 percent of the project has been completed in North Dakota. The project, which currently employs more than 8,000 hardworking men and women, made significant progress in September despite daily accounts of unlawful, illegal behavior at worksites across the state. Earlier in the week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) told state regulators that a majority construction and testing in North Dakota should be complete by the end of October.

Work on the pipeline is nearing completion along the rest of the four-state route as well. In Iowa, Sheldon-based 1550 KIWA-AM reported solid progress across the 18 counties traversed by the project and an article in South Dakota characterized DAPL as being nearly complete.

Energy Supply Chain Industries, Workers Urge Dakota Access Completion

A coalition of some of the nation’s top energy supply chain industries and workers has come together to urge President Obama to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be completed. In a new letter, leaders of 18 different organizations called on Obama to support infrastructure development, quoting his 2015 State of the Union Address that called for just that.

“21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure ‐‐ modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this,” President Obama said.

Furthermore, the letter notes the extensive permitting process that DAPL underwent as well as the monumental amount of capital the project has already injected into the U.S. economy.

Wednesday’s letter comes just two days after the heads of five trade unions called on Obama to allow the project to move forward, saying that current delays have already resulted in lost jobs and threaten many more.

Federal Inspectors Play Active Role in Dakota Access Construction

The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) met with representatives from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Tuesday and received an updated on the agency’s safety inspections being conducted on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The discussion with PHMSA reinforced the value of new, state-of-the-art pipelines as the preferred method for transporting oil,” said PSC Commission Chairwomen Julie Fedorchak in a press release following the meeting. “It’s safer for the public and for the environment.

According the release, PHMSA officials ensured commissioners that inspectors continue to play an active role in the in the DAPL construction process. While the PSC was responsible for approving the pipeline in North Dakota, PHMSA has regulatory authority over the construction, operation, and maintenance of DAPL. During construction, inspectors focus on a multitude of different areas, including ensuring proper training and observing the pipe’s installation.

“The work of these neutral, third-party PHMSA inspectors provides great comfort for concerned citizens that this important oil transmission pipeline is being installed to meet or exceed all reasonable safety standards,” said Commissioner Randy Christmann.

The release further noted that a majority construction and testing in North Dakota should be complete by the end of October.

North Dakota Media Calls for Construction to Continue

The Grand Forks Herald published an editorial which called for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue and for the ongoing protest in Morton County to cease:

“In the eyes of the public, protesters who take the law into their own hands have two strikes against them.

Violence results in the third strike. That means the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is ‘out,’ and the protesters should heed North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley’s call to disperse.”

In the wake of nearly three dozen arrests, and ongoing reports of continued violence, trespassing, and threats to law enforcement and construction workers, not to mention a siphoning of state resources. It appears that these protesters have worn out their welcome in Morton County.

If there was a case to be made, it should have been made long ago at the three public hearings that were held by the Public Service Commission and not at the expense of public safety and North Dakota taxpayers. But since these groups did not bother to show up, it’s certainly not the time to make these points now, nor is it ever acceptable to commit the violent and illegal actions committed to date by these protesters.

Lee County Supervisors See Pipeline Construction, Safety Precautions up Close

Throughout the lengthy and exhaustive approval process for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, representatives of the men and women who would be put to work on the project repeatedly stated their intention to build the pipeline with safety as the top priority. This week, Supervisors from Lee County, Iowa decided to see firsthand just how the construction of the pipeline would look. Their visit was covered by a reporter at The Hawkeye and described what they saw.

 Board chairman Ron Fedler, Matt Pflug, Gary Folluo and Rick Larkin were given a rare glimpse at the progress of the pipeline, which nearly splits Lee County in half, from it’s northwest corner at the Van Buren county line, south of Montrose along the Mississippi River.

 The pipeline enters Lee County west of Donnellson, then cuts 30 miles across the county before crossing the Mississippi River into Hancock County, Ill. In total, the 1,168-mile Dakota Access pipeline will run from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to an oil refining hub in Patoka, Ill., transporting crude oil through a 30-inch underground pipeline.

 “It blows my mind how they put this all together,” Pflug remarked as they gathered along the riverbank before heading to the site of the Mississippi River bore.

The article went into detail about the steps taken to ensure safety at the drilling site.

 Michels, the horizontal drilling company employed by the project’s contractor, Precision Pipeline, keeps between seven and 10 laborers, operators, teamsters and drillers on-hand about 10 hours per day working on the bore.

 “These guys really take a lot of care in what they do,” Weaver said. “I mean, there’s a lot riding on a job like this, right here. We have to make sure that we do it right.”

 For the men and women in the oil pipeline industry, it’s “all about the integrity of the pipe.”

Once completed, the pipeline will carry Dakota oil to a refinery in Illinois, and significantly boosts the energy security of the Midwest as well as the nation.

Construction Disruption A Safety and Security Risk

The Independent Women’s Forum recently published a post which called the disruption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline a “safety and security risk.”

In reports from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, protesters have continued to forcefully and even violently engage both law enforcement and construction personnel. Not only have there been numerous violent incidents that have forced the involvement of Morton County and the North Dakota State Troopers, but now even the FBI is investigating incidents of protesters threatening the safety of overflying aircraft!

What should have been a peaceful exercise in public discourse has devolved into a state of lawlessness. The actions of these protesters should no longer be tolerated.