Snopes: Bismarck Never Rejected Dakota Access Route

Respected fact checking website, responded on Wednesday to misguided rumors that the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted around Bismarck as a result of local opposition.

CLAIM: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was re-routed through the Standing Rock Reservation after Bismarck’s mostly-white residents refused to allow it near their water supply.

WHATS TRUE: The U.S Army Corps of Engineers originally considered a Dakota Access Pipeline route north of Bismarck but abandoned the idea, citing eleven miles of additional pipeline length and dozens more crossings.

WHATS FALSE: “Mostly white” residents of Bismarck did not refuse to accept the threat to their water supply, and the project was not subsequently forced upon tribes at Standing Rock because white people rejected the risk.

The post goes on to cite an article in the Bismarck Tribune that explains why the current route was always the preferred route:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the Bismarck route and concluded it was not a viable option for many reasons. One reason mentioned in the agency’s environmental assessment is the proximity to wellhead source water protection areas that are avoided to protect municipal water supply wells.

In addition, the Bismarck route would have been 11 miles longer with more road crossings and waterbody and wetland crossings. It also would have been difficult to stay 500 or more feet away from homes, as required by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the corps states.

The Bismarck route also would have crossed an area considered by federal pipeline regulators as a “high consequence area,” which is an area determined to have the most significant adverse consequences in the event of a pipeline spill.

Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary recently echoed these findings, saying that at no point did local officials discuss the alternate route north of the city.

“Bismarck has never been involved in that discussion. Not one policy maker, not one department head, not one city employee has ever been involved in a discussion with regards to a route north of Bismarck …. So move on from that subject. You are wrong and you are creating issues,” Seminary said during a November press conference.

Dakota Access Pipeline Update: MAIN Coalition Statement on Protesters

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens today issued the following statement 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:

“It’s important to remember that there are veterans on both sides of this issue who have served honorably to protect Americans’ right to protest, as well as Americans’ right to work and live in a safe and harassment-free environment.  We respect the service of all veterans, yet the notion that some would descend upon Cannon Ball as self-purported ‘human shields’ is both unnerving and unnecessary.  Protesters have had, and taken, the ongoing opportunity to protest for several months.  Only when protesters have broken the law have they been arrested or asked to disperse.

“All Americans have the Constitutionally protected right to peaceably protest.  However, as the weather worsens, emotions rise, and tensions escalate we remain concerned for the safety of law enforcement peacekeepers, protesters, and workers.  We urge the Obama Administration to abide by the rule of law and acknowledge the intensifying situation in Cannon Ball by issuing the already-approved easement for construction abutting Lake Oahe so that life can return to normal in the area.”


Who are the Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Standing With?

After being immersed in more than three months of protests and riots over the Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County, N.D., I feel compelled to share a few general observations.

First, and most aggravating, the reasoning and stated positions of the protesters seem to have little to do with the citizens of Morton County, or even the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Perhaps they simply did no research, or chose to ignore the facts surrounding the pipeline.

But for many of these radical environmental groups and professional protesters who have come into our county, from everywhere from California to New York, the facts would have ruined a perfectly good protest opportunity. Most never met a protest they didn’t like, and they certainly never let the truth get in the way of their national environmental agenda.

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Army Corps Orders DAPL Protester to Leave, Then Says Won’t Enforce

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is cracking down on Dakota Access Pipeline opponents who have been illegally camping in federal lands since August.

In a November 25th letter to Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault, Omaha District Commander Colonel John Henderson said the area, which is home to the Oceti Sakowin camp, will be closed to public access starting on December 5th due to safety concerns stemming from oncoming winter weather and recent clashes with law enforcement officials.

Not surprisingly, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other protest organizers have vowed to remain at their camp, which has been the subject of increased scrutiny following revelations that permanent structures are being built in violation of federal law.

North Dakota’s top elected officials welcomed the Army Corps’ move to evict protesters, but also questioned whether the Obama Administration would follow through and enforce the order.

“The decision by the Army Corps is a needed step to support the safety of residents, workers, protestors, and law enforcement,” said North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. “Safety must remain the top priority for everyone, and to help make that possible, it’s critical protestors peacefully and lawfully move off of the Corps land north of the Cannonball River and to the identified federal and tribal lands.”

Senator John Hoeven also backed the decision to require pipeline opponents to leave federal lands north of the Cannonball River. “In light of violent protest activity, the Corps has taken a necessary step to protect public safety. Now, the protesters should respect the law and peacefully leave the protest area,” he said in a statement. “Now, state, local, tribal and federal authorities need to coordinate their efforts to help ensure that the protesters comply and leave.”

Governor Jack Dalrymple responded to the Army Corps’ decision Saturday, saying it will be up to the federal government to enforce the eviction notice. “Our state and local law enforcement agencies continue to do all they can to keep private property and public infrastructure free from unpermitted protest activities, and it’s past time that the federal government provides the law enforcement resources needed to support public safety and to enforce their own order to vacate,” Dalrymple said in a statement.

The Army Corps said Sunday that it “has no plans for forcible removal” of protesters who remain after the December 5th deadline, suggesting that the eviction notice merely serves as hollow political rhetoric. If this is true, it would represent yet another disturbing example of Obama Administration’s complete disregard for the rule of law. It begs the question, why have rules if they aren’t enforced?

Officials Raise Concerns for Children at the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

Mandan, N.D. — This fall, Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at the Sacred Stones Camp in North Dakota proudly highlighted the Defenders of the Water School as a camp success story. By October, they had changed their tune. In a letter addressed to tribal chairman Dave Archambault II, the North Dakota State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler informed the group that the makeshift school did not meet the standards of the state of North Dakota.

She requested that students attend schools in the nearest district, then Mandan, until the school completes the state’s approval process. Now, a month later, the issue has stalled, leaving the educational status of the children in the camp uncertain.

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Local Voices Matter in the Dakota Access Discussion Too

In an opinion piece published in The Hill by Bill Gerhard president of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and Dawna Leitzke, executive director for the South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association, the authors point out that for more than two years many people within the states where Dakota Access is being constructed have actually supported the project.

In the piece Mr. Gerhard and Ms. Leitzke write: “In recent weeks, a growing amount of media attention has been focused on the ongoing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Reports of trespassing, arson, and attempted murder are deeply troubling. Equally worrisome is the protest’s rapid spreading from North Dakota into South Dakota, Iowa and other states – a trend that promises only to grow unless law and order are restored to the region.  Unfortunately, the voices of those who live in the states where the pipeline is being constructed are not being heard, which is why we’d like to share our perspective.”

We’ve noted the presence of anti-development activists before among the protesters at Standing Rock, and often it’s their activities that the media covers.

Local voices matter too, public support and a need for this project led to the Dakota Access Pipeline’s approval by four separate state utility regulators.

Pipeline Workers Face Great Risk In Midst of Anti-DAPL Protest

An article in the Billings Gazette, highlights the experience of Cory Bryson, a North Dakotan and business representative for LiUNA Local 563 in Bismarck.

Mr. Bryson recalls sitting in multiple public hearings in North Dakota and notes how the tribe failed to attend any of the PSC meetings.

In fact he also conducted outreach to Chairman Archambault on how to work better with tribes in the future, but the men have yet to meet.

Sadly, the public participation of union members in the permitting process has made them a target for anti-pipeline activists. “A lot of the violence is coming from people who are from out of state bringing their own agendas,” Mr. Bryson said. “protests go from protecting the water to anti-oil, anti-pipeline, anti-fracking and anti-police. Too many groups are involved.” Mr. Bryson also indicated he received threats himself. He’s been followed in his car by vehicles with out-of-state license plates. Once, protesters threatened to burn his family in their home.

These type of scare tactics are not only threatening to the rule of law, but they unfairly target individuals who are providing for their families. Without closure on the issuance of an easement underneath Lake Oahe, it is clear protesters will continue to engage in these deliberately threatening actions, and continue to target American workers.

Dakota Access Tried Good Neighbor Policies with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Based on the escalation in violence at the anti-Dakota Access protests, one would think that Dakota Access offered nothing to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and purposefully targeted their lands.

Far from it in fact.

Not only does the Dakota Access Pipeline not cross Standing Rock reservation land, nor does it cross historical lands signed under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, but Dakota Access actively surveyed the land alongside efforts from the State Historical Preservation Office  for cultural artifacts, and purposefully routed their pipeline alongside an existing pipeline so that there was minimal chance of an encounter with an undocumented archaeological or cultural site.

A Daily Caller article also highlights offers from developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline to install water quality sensors and construction of a fresh water storage facility.

According to a report published earlier in the Washington Examiner, Dakota Access also offered the tribe emergency vehicles in the event the pipeline ruptured. It wasn’t enough. The tribe demanded more.

Despite the claims of protesters, Dakota Access has in fact made good-faith efforts for consultation and respected the sensitivities of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. However, it has become more and more clear as protests have escalated that there never was a Standing Rock negotiating platform, only an attempt to stymie the project.

North Dakota Security Situation Underscores Importance of Law Enforcement Support

In a spate of protester violence over the weekend, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their environmentalist allies again launched an assault on law enforcement in Morton County in an attempt to illegally occupy private property resulting in a confrontation with police.

Protesters are now mainly located on land south of the Cannon Ball River, but have erected barricades to prevent law enforcement from crossing a bridge over the Backwater which leads to the main protest camps. From there they amassed in an attempt to reach the site where Dakota Access construction equipment and workers are located.

This recent action sadly does not come as a surprise. The fires set by protesters this weekend to inhibit law enforcement activities are not new images.

In light of this rapidly deteriorating security situation the MAIN Coalition is incredulous at the lack of federal response from Washington, who has until today refused aid to North Dakota law enforcement. By delaying the issuance of the necessary easement for Dakota Access to cross Lake Oahe, despite a finding of No Significant Impact by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal government has created an environment where protest escalation and further violence is allowed to flourish. At this late stage, despite a small influx of Customs and Border Patrol agents, without the issuance of an easement, we fear that we can only expect more of the same.

Native Americans After ‘Easy Money’ In Pipeline Fight

Proponents of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline say the Native American tribe protesting the project isn’t all that hung up on whether the pipeline will use sacred land, and is really just looking for a bigger cut of the revenue.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has claimed that the project has encroached on its land, damaged sacred sites and would potentially harm a major source of their drinking water by going under Lake Oahe.

Sources privy to the discussions say a number of offers had been made to the tribe, including the installation of water quality sensors, construction of a fresh water storage facility to store water in case of a pipeline leak, and other means of ensuring water quality. The developers also offered to create a rapid response team to respond to environmental accidents, including emergency vehicles provided to Standing Rock Tribal members, according to an email from one source involved in the discussions.

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