Construction Unions Call On the Governor of North Dakota to Secure Work Sites, Promote the Rule of Law

In an announcement today, the General Presidents of four unions: Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and the United Association (UA) announced that they have sent a letter to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple. The letter requests that the governor use all the resources at his disposal to protect the hard-earned jobs of thousands of American men and women.

The release highlights the opportunity both supporters and opponents of the pipeline had to voice their opinions before the North Dakota Public Service Commission three times last year and calls attention to the actions of protestors that have endangered the safety of both construction workers and law enforcement.

According to the release, “Our men and women who earn a living on important and vital construction infrastructure projects such as Dakota Access have been asked to leave the job site while the local law enforcement contains the illegal protesters… While they may have a right to protest, we also have a right to do our jobs in a safe environment.”

Media Questions Sincerity of Tribal Leader’s Call for Peace

In a new opinion piece, Rob Port, editor of, argues that anti-Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have done little to change their tactics and that it still remains unclear if Archambault even stands behind what he said.

“Over the last days, I have spent a great deal of time, meeting and speaking with participants in the demonstration, tribal government and spiritual leaders, state and local law enforcement officials and others,” Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault said in a statement released to the media this last week. “In all of these meetings, my message has been consistent — we need to work together in peace.”

That stands at odds with the dozens of arrests made by law enforcement officers for infractions like trespassing and disorderly conduct. In fact, Archambault himself was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly shoving law enforcement officers on the protest line.

If Archambault’s goal is peace, can we say that he has pursued that goal through his own actions?

Port goes on to highlight recent comments by law enforcement officers that have been continuously intimidated, threatened, and even assaulted by protestors.

“Pipeline construction has been halted in the area of the protest as law enforcement officers have encountered weapons, threats of pipe bombs and assaults on private security,” Forum News Service reporter Amy Dalrymple wrote earlier this week.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told the Bismarck Tribune that “his officers have been threatened.”

“This is really dangerous down here,” Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, whose department has been assisting Kirchmeier’s during the protests, told Fargo Forum reporter Robin Huebner.

Archambault had ample opportunity to present his concerns last fall during the three North Dakota Public Service Commission hearings on the pipeline, but neglected to do so. “These groups didn’t come to our hearings,” said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk in an interview with the Bismarck Tribune.

As a coalition we agree with Port that everyone has a right to be heard and all viewpoints deserve equal consideration. That said, the Standing Rock’s failure to participate in the formal regulatory review process does not grant them the right to trample the voices of others who chose to be involved in the project’s evaluation.

Dakota Access Isn’t The First Pipeline To Cross A River

Based on the actions of the protesters in North Dakota, you would think that the Dakota Access Pipeline is a groundbreaking engineering achievement and will be the first time a pipeline has ever crossed a body of water, ever.

But as the popular North Dakota SayAnythingBlog pointed out earlier today, this is hardly the case.

Here is a map that shows all of the liquid and gas pipelines criss-crossing the country today. As it shows, quite a few of them cross bodies of water including rivers, lakes, and even the ocean.




As Chairwoman Fedorchak said, nobody wants to contaminate the water supply. It isn’t the goal of a pipeline company to build a bad piece of infrastructure that will have problems. In fact, safety is the utmost priority when it comes to building pipeline infrastructure, which is why Dakota Access is such a thoroughly engineered project that used state-of-the-art technology to construct and maintain the pipeline. But this pipeline is not groundbreaking when it comes to engineering a water crossing. Many have come before it, and undoubtedly many will come after it.

This is about a bigger issue, these groups advocate a radical “keep it in the ground” approach to American energy production which is not a feasible strategy when it comes to our energy independence. Our economy requires the resources of the Bakken and the Midwest will be served well by lower costs of energy, valuable manufacturing inputs, and thousands of jobs that this pipeline will provide.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Didn’t Show Up At Regulatory Hearings

For over a week the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has protested the Dakota Access Pipeline by attempting to physically block access to the construction site. But when it came to the state review of the project which began almost two years ago, the tribe was nowhere to be found.

The tribe has argued that the project would threaten their water, land, and heritage, but as the SayAnything Blog notes, none of these concerns were ever raised before the North Dakota Public Services Commission. There were three public sessions including one in Mandan, less than 30 miles from the protest site. Neither Chairman Dave Archambault nor any official representative of his tribe bothered to attend any of the regulatory hearings reviewing the Dakota Access Pipeline project before approval deliberations began.

Even North Dakota Public Services Commissioner Brian Kalk highlighted their absence in a comment to the Bismarck Tribune, “These groups didn’t come to our hearings,’ said Kalk, expressing disappointment that tribal leaders didn’t appear at that time to voice their concerns.”

It doesn’t add up. There was ample opportunity to protest the pipeline through civil discussion, and yet there was no participation by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Now when the project is well on its way through construction do they resort to occupying private property, interfering with lawful construction, or riding horses within feet of the faces of the many state troopers who are trying to keep them safe.

Dakota Access Opponents’ Extrajudicial Actions Have Real Safety Implications

Some of the key points throughout the entire review process for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline were “is this pipeline safe,” “will the job site be safe,” and “will those job sites protect the environment?”

These are questions we all had, after all, this is our land, these are our communities. If this work is going to take place, safety is of the utmost concern both during construction and operation. That’s why we had a review process that considered all these questions, and more.

Throughout the review we learned about the intricacies of soil restoration, X-Ray weld scanning technology, remote actuated shutoff valves, 24/7 monitoring, and horizontal directional drilling. These were matters that were carefully explained by the company throughout each of the lengthy review processes both in open testimony and public documents so that each state, through their utility regulatory bodies, and the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, could make an informed decision. Only after all had been satisfied was the pipeline deemed safe and approved for construction.

But now that construction has begun, opponents of the project have taken matters into their own hands by committing acts of destruction, trespassing, and refusing compliance with lawful authorities’ orders meant to keep our communities safe.

Rather than pursue lawful action, or accept the fact that this pipeline was indeed thoroughly reviewed and that informed decision makers did their due diligence. These fringe groups have taken to physical action to stop the pipeline on the lawful easements where construction is taking place.

This type of activity endangers local workers, communities, and possibly even the opponents themselves, who do not have the proper training or safety understanding to move on or around the active job sites.

We’ve talked in the past about our disagreements, but the simple fact remains this pipeline was approved many times over.

We urge the opponents of this project to not put themselves in harm’s way and to denounce those who do. It does all of us no good to endanger their own safety and the safety of those working on the pipeline.

Dakota Access Pipeline Part Of Transportation Solution, American Energy Independence

In a recent article from the Dickinson Press, North Dakota oil production has surpassed last year’s record and is now nearing half a million barrels per day according to a report from the Associated Press and confirmed by North Dakota state officials and industry officials. In fact, the current production in the state has already surpassed 113 million barrels produced in 2010.

A record 204 drilling rigs were operating in the western region of North Dakota this past week, nearly all are drilling on the Bakken and Three Forks formations, precisely the same region of production where the Dakota Access Pipeline will originate.

Right now in eastern Montana and North Dakota the daily capacity to move oil out of the region is 773,000 barrels, including 438,000 barrels by pipeline and 335,000 barrels by rail. Added pipeline capacity, through the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which will transport  470,000 barrels per day, will more than double the current take away, help free up rail capacity, and grow our country’s ability to extract our own energy resources while on the path to full energy independence.

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 Fulfills Commitment To American Manufacturers

The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that Dakota Access has fulfilled a pledge to purchase more than $200 million in American-made heavy equipment necessary to construct the $3.8 billion pipeline.   

“The purchases have been fully executed and include 250 excavators from Caterpillar Inc. and 80 excavators from Deere & Co., as well as equipment from Iowa-based Vermeer Corp., said Dakota Access representative Vicki Granado.”

Earlier this year, officials from Caterpillar, Deere and Vermeer filed letters urging state utility boards and commissions to approve the landmark energy infrastructure project. Now, with the pipeline fully approved, equipment from all three of these industry-leading manufactures can be seen a construction sites all along the four-state route.

American manufacturers are already benefiting immensely now that the Dakota Access Pipeline is under construction. The will continue to see the long-lasting benefits once operational as it will deliver affordable, domestic energy to markets across the nation.

A resurgent manufacturing sector has already shown us how low-cost energy can transform our economy, create jobs, and maintain competitiveness in a global market. Projects like Dakota Access will solidify these gains and ensure the continued ability of business to grow and thrive in the United States.

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