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.

White House Rebuffs ‘Keep it in the Ground’ Demands

Activists in the Keep it in the Ground movement are facing another setback following the dismissal by the White House of a petition demanding an end to oil and gas production.

The petition—created earlier this year on the White House’s “We the People” website—asked President Obama to halt “all new drilling, fracking, and mining on public lands and waters” in the United States.

The White House, which responds to any petition receiving at least a 100,000 signatures, largely rebuffed the activist’s demands in an online post. “Even as we move full steam ahead towards cleaner energy, the United States will still need fossil fuels in the near term,” the White House said.

These comments echo those of Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell who, earlier this month, characterized the “Keep it in the Ground” protests as “naïve.”

“It’s going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels, so I think that to keep it in the ground is naïve, to say we could shift to 100 percent renewables is naïve,” Jewell said. “We really have to have a blend over time, and a transition over time, that recognizes the real complexity of what we’re dealing with.”

The Administration’s response is also in line with Jewell’s comments in terms of its emphasis on energy efficiency. Increased energy efficiency, whether it be in the form of better gas mileage, Energy Star appliances, or “green buildings,” saves American households and businesses billions of dollars each year while also reducing the nation’s overall energy consumption.

“New cars and trucks are more fuel-efficient than ever and, thanks to the Administration’s fuel efficiency standards, they’re projected to roughly double in overall efficiency from 2010 to 2025. We’ll continue to improve upon this,” the White House noted in its response.

In responding to this petition, the White House joins a growing chorus of voices that recognize that the demands of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement are unrealistic and a distraction to the sensible dialogues underway about the nation’s energy needs.