The USA Today Editorial Board called for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a piece published on December 5th.
According to the board’s piece, despite attempts to block the project, oil produced in North Dakota will not be kept in the ground.
“The issue of where to route pipelines is always going to be a sticking point. Native tribes are not the only ones who would prefer to not have them in or near their backyards. But pipelines fill a vital need for the economy and for America’s energy security, and therefore need to be built.
As for combating climate change, the ultimate goal of many environmental groups, taking on individual pipelines is not the answer. The answer is to impose costs on carbon emissions so polluters can’t keep using the atmosphere as a free dumping ground for greenhouse gases. That way, markets can figure out the best way to adapt.
Pipeline fights can make for a great spectacle. But, no matter which side wins, they will have little impact on the environment beyond their immediate environs.”
Over the weekend, the Obama administration denied a key permit necessary to complete the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.
This overtly political decision not only ignores the facts about the Dakota Access pipeline; more dangerous, the Obama administration has rewarded the violent tactics used by some of the pipeline’s most radical protesters.
Since the protests began, a staggering 566 people have been arrested for charges ranging from attempted murder to rioting to conspiracy to endanger by fire or explosion.
A 37-year-old Colorado woman allegedly fired her .38-caliber pistol three times at a sheriff’s deputy. She was arrested after a struggle, and law enforcement said they found marijuana on her person.
In addition to bullets, law-enforcement officials have dodged protesters’ other projectiles, which have ranged from Molotov cocktails to wood and stones to feces. A drone endangered a police helicopter, and the sheriff’s department said arrows were also shot at it.
A recently published Wall Street Journal op-ed from Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota dispels many of inaccuracies being reported about the project and highlights the extensive process and review of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
In the op-ed Congressman Cramer states the following facts:
This isn’t about tribal rights or protecting cultural resources. The pipeline does not cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux. The land under discussion belongs to private owners and the federal government. To suggest that the Standing Rock tribe has the legal ability to block the pipeline is to turn America’s property rights upside down.
Two federal courts have rejected claims that the tribe wasn’t consulted. The project’s developer and the Army Corps made dozens of overtures to the Standing Rock Sioux over more than two years. Often these attempts were ignored or rejected, with the message that the tribe would only accept termination of the project.
Other tribes and parties did participate in the process. More than 50 tribes were consulted, and their concerns resulted in 140 adjustments to the pipeline’s route. The project’s developer and the Army Corps were clearly concerned about protecting tribal artifacts and cultural sites. Any claim otherwise is unsupported by the record. The pipeline’s route was also studied—and ultimately supported—by the North Dakota Public Service Commission (on which I formerly served), the State Historic Preservation Office, and multiple independent archaeologists.
This isn’t about water protection. Years before the pipeline was announced, the tribe was working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps to relocate its drinking-water intake. The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River. Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.
This isn’t about the climate. The oil that will be shipped through the pipeline is already being produced. But right now it is transported in more carbon-intensive ways, such as by railroad or long-haul tanker truck. So trying to thwart the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas could have the opposite effect.
What’s left that this issue could be about? Politics.
Unfortunately all the processes and laws in the world could not stop the politics of an outgoing administration attempting to cement a legacy. But the beauty of politics is that they are hardly permanent.
In 44 days a new presidential administration will have the opportunity to do the right thing; enforce the law, end a dangerous standoff, and release the final easement for Dakota Access to continue construction.
The Obama administration announced Sunday that it is denying an easement needed to build the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The project is mostly built on private land but requires approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to cross federally regulated waters, including Lake Oahe, a section of the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe , which governs a reservation near the lake, objects that the project threatens its water and violates sacred land. The protest camp the tribe created has swelled with activists from across the country, who have clashed with local authorities. So, with the harsh Dakota winter descending on the camp, the Army Corps said Sunday it would examine new routes in consultation with tribal leaders.
It is hard not to have sympathy for the tribe. Driven off their territory and cordoned into a small reservation, the Standing Rock and other Native American communities were victims of grave injustice as white Americans moved relentlessly west in pursuit of land and fortune. The area outside the reservation still holds historical and cultural significance, which deserves careful consideration.
A little more than two weeks ago, during a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement, an improvised explosive device was detonated on a public bridge in southern North Dakota. That was simply the latest manifestation of the “prayerful” and “peaceful” protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Escalating tensions were temporarily defused Sunday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the direction of the Obama administration, announced it would refuse to grant the final permit needed to complete the $3.8 billion project. The pipeline, which runs nearly 1,200 miles from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to Illinois, is nearly complete except for a small section where it needs to pass under the Missouri River. Denying the permit for that construction only punts the issue to next month—to a new president who won’t thumb his nose at the rule of law.
Like many North Dakotans, I’ve had to endure preaching about the pipeline from the press, environmental activists, musicians and politicians in other states. More often than not, these sermons are informed by little more than a Facebook post. At the risk of spoiling the protesters’ narrative, I’d like to bring us back to ground truth.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday delivered a symbolic victory to the environmental left by denying a permit to complete the 1,200-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline. The political obstruction illustrates why it’s so hard to build anything in America these days.
Construction is almost complete on the Dakota Access, which aims to transport a half million barrels of oil each day from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to Illinois for delivery to refiners on the East and Gulf coasts. About 99% of the pipeline doesn’t require federal permitting because it traverses private lands. But the Corps must sign off on an easement to drill under Lake Oahe that dams the Missouri River.
After an exhaustive consultation with Native American tribes, the Corps in July issued an environmental assessment of “no significant impact.” Construction is unlikely to harm tribal totems because the Dakota Access would parallel an existing gas pipeline. The route has been modified 140 times in North Dakota to avoid upsetting sacred cultural resources.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not be granting the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) the easement it needs to cross the Missouri River, despite the project being nearly complete.
American Indians and environmentalists camped out at the project’s construction site hailed the decision a victory, while Energy Transfer Partners and pipeline supporters are bashing the Corps for reversing its stance on the project.
Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said the Corps would not approve the easement based on the need “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline. It’s a stunning reversal from July 2016, when the Corps approved the easement for the project.
Ret. Major General James “Spider” Marks issued the following statement Saturday in response to reports that a number of veterans will be traveling to North Dakota next week to join protesters opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline:
“As people, including some veterans, are traveling to North Dakota this weekend, I would urge all sides to respect and honor our shared military service. Veterans are represented throughout local law enforcement, among pipeline construction workers, as well as the protesters. All of us, no doubt, have lost friends or colleagues and spilled our own blood to protect the American freedoms that we all cherish.
“I am concerned that the protests have grown, and will continue to grow, more violent and targeted against law enforcement and pipeline construction personnel and equipment. We all respect the right to be heard, but I implore all protesters to demonstrate in a peaceful and lawful manner. As brother and sister veterans, we should respect each other and our shared sacrifice.”
North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer offered a lengthy, detailed response to Dakota Access Pipeline critics during a Friday morning speech on the House floor. Cramer, an advocate for American energy independence, addressed both the Obama Administration’s inaction and the unlawful protest activities.
“Mr. Speaker, for more than 3 months, thousands of rioters disguising themselves as prayerful people, peaceful protesters, have illegally camped on Federal land owned or at least managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, owned by the taxpayers of this country. … At the center of this issue is an administration that refuses–not just refuses to follow the rule of law, but enables and encourages the breaking of the law, beginning with the fact that thousands of illegal protesters are allowed to camp, to trespass on federally owned land.”
Cramer, who served as one of North Dakota’s utility regulators for nine years before being elected to Congress, went on to emphasize that pipelines like Dakota Access are the safest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly way to transport our energy resources. Without the pipeline, Bakken producers will still send product to market, but will be forced to rely on less reliable alternatives like railcars and trucks, Cramer added.
In addition, Cramer strongly disputed misguided rumors about decisions made during the routing of the pipeline.
“[The Dakota Access Pipeline] was always planned for this location for a very good reason, Mr. Speaker. … The main reason this route was chosen was because it was the least intrusive on the environment, on waterways, on private property, and on cultural resources. The other locations that were under consideration that were not chosen crossed many more bodies of water and were much closer to many wells and cultural resources and very important historical resources. It was 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas. This is and was the best route because it is an existing corridor. In this same corridor, there is already a natural gas pipeline. There is already a large electric transmission line. That is why it was chosen.”
Cramer concluded by discussing the impact the months long protest is having in North Dakota, noting that the state government has had to borrow $17 million to cover law enforcement costs.