Dakota Access Pipeline - the Coming Battle

From Obama’s desk to the desk of Eric Fanning, Secretary of the Army and advocate of non-discrimination based on sexuality in the military. Then on to the desk of Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy. And from there down to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The order was passed down like a shining olympic torch of progressive dictates; all the way from the White House to the frozen lands of North Dakota. And the order was: stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

An environmental study will be commissioned to assess the impact of the stalled pipeline, and environmental and native groups have already warned Trump's incoming administration to "respect the decision" and "follow the law." The warnings specifically coming from Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault and Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva. And the environmental review will be a lengthy, slow process, with lots of stakeholders lining up to give fiery witness to the evils of transporting hydrocarbons in an efficient and safe manner. Unwinding or halting the review will not be and administratively easy thing to do. One can imagine Obama and his staff giggling with delight at the roadblock they probably feel he has put in Trump's way.

When Trump takes over, he will have this on his desk, and he has expressed support for energy industry projects like the Keystone pipeline. He should expect yet another battle on the Dakota Access Pipeline from all sorts of groups who would love to give him a black eye, and many of whom also are deeply opposed to America's drilling for oil on her own territory. The "keep it in the ground" movement will surely, for example, have Jill Stein back again in North Dakota to hopefully garnish some coverage and boost her fundraising efforts on the back of her financially successful recount campaign.

And Trump's administration will have to deal with bureaucrats all the way from the EPA through the Army Corps of Engineers, who will all do what they can to slow down the process for restarting the Dakota Access Pipeline. But if his administration is truly committed to American industry, then the choice is clear. How they go about reversing the Obama administration's decision on the Dakota Access project - through a court order against the Army Corps of Engineers refusal to issue permits; reversing Obama's order; or through Congress - is perhaps less important than the new administration's willingness to endure a possibly lengthy campaign in the media against any moves to restart the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Make it about jobs. Make it about strict safety standards in place as the work proceeds. Make it about cheap energy to power America's factories. Because Obama's fans will be doing what they can to shame Trump into backing down. So far, shaming Trump down does not seem a very likely outcome.

Posted by Keeley at December 6, 2016 11:54 AM
Comment #410940

My father made his living for the longest time selling cathodic protection for oil and gas pipelines. these hydrocarbons and the impurities within them, especially sulfur, have a bad habit of eating through the metal of pipelines, unless maintenance is kept up quite religiously. So, you talk about safe and efficient manners of transporting hydrocarbons, but I’ll tell you that anywhere you put an oil pipeline, you stand a chance of springing a leak.

Now, in a hundred years, we may not need to pipe corrosive petroleum around the country. But from now, to the future beyond, we will need to drink water and irrigate crops. So, if we spoil an aquifer, or contaminate our drinking water, we’re trading a long term loss for short term gain.

That seems to be the pattern of the decision-making on the right, and it seems to favor those who don’t have to live with the consequences of mistakes and misfortunes. Cheap energy isn’t cheap if you factor in all the ultimate costs. The main reason they planned to put this pipeline through these people’s land was that they were too poor and too Native American to have the pull at the various levels of government to stop it from happening altogether.

You guys… you seem to pick the worst possible battles to try and win. Although it shows impressive commitment and grit, it only makes you better and less sympathetic villains for the backlash to rebound upon.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 7, 2016 8:32 AM
Comment #410942


• 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.

• 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.

• This site was chosen because it is largely a brownfield area that was disturbed long ago by previous infrastructure.

• Other pipelines carrying oil, gas and refined products already cross the Missouri River at least a dozen times upstream of the tribe’s intake.

Falling for false narratives seems to be the pattern of the decision-making on the left, and it seems ‘the poor indians and their land and water’ narrative doesn’t pan out.

Posted by: kctim at December 7, 2016 9:34 AM
Comment #410961

Isn’t the proposed pipeline crossing land that ought to be Sioux territory according to the Treaty of Fort Laramie?

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 7, 2016 11:20 PM
Comment #410970

Yes, the Treaty of Fort Laramie is one of the claims being made, and apparently ‘ownership of the land has been the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux’ ever since.

Posted by: kctim at December 8, 2016 9:53 AM
Comment #410999

Well that kinda sinks Kevin Cramer’s first talking point, doesn’t it?

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 8, 2016 6:46 PM
Comment #411019

‘Ought to be’ does not mean ‘is’
Especially when ‘your people’ have been conquered and they have been allowed to exist at the mercy of the conquerors for the past 150 some years.

Posted by: kctim at December 9, 2016 8:57 AM
Comment #411021

30 yrs ago, the courts decided in the Sioux’s favor regarding the land dispute. So it IS their land. It’s just that the government keeps violating the rule of law.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 9, 2016 9:46 AM
Comment #411030

They were conquered and our government was generous enough to give them space to pretend they weren’t. Government will work with them, pay them, and even allow itself to be bullied by them, but in the end it will act in the best interest of the entire country. Or at least it should.

Kind of explains the whole ‘ownership of the land has been the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux’ though, doesn’t it.

Posted by: kctim at December 9, 2016 12:17 PM
Comment #411036

Are there any limits regarding when the government can “conquer” private property?

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 9, 2016 2:45 PM
Comment #411235

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