And here we go again. It seems that the scenes emerging from Morton County North Dakota resemble something a little more sinister than what many of us would consider a “Spirit Camp” protest, because they’re looking like a North Dakota/South Dakota version of the types of protests we’re seeing in St. Louis, Minneapolis, and other places. In fact, the protests have gotten so out of hand that the company was asked to stop construction, so county governments and the state of North Dakota have been forced to allocate emergency financial resources to bolster local law enforcement.
In a place where protestors hurl both bottles and insults at police officers, lasers are pointed at aircraft, construction equipment is occupied, and horseback charges out of the 19th century have replaced civil discourse, we have to decide if we’re a country of laws, or a country of mob rule. If we’re still a country of laws, then the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline should no longer be allowed to continue.
What originally began as a protest regarding the location of a river crossing site for the pipeline project, has morphed into a display of radical environmentalism that threatens the future economic development of our country. This protest is halting the entirely legal, and properly vetted construction of a pipeline system that is part of the oil and gas infrastructure necessary to safely store and transport energy resources produced within the state.
Why are environmental radicals howling about this? It certainly isn’t the first time a pipeline has crossed a river. And it’s not the first time a pipeline is going to go across private land. But the protest of this pipeline project is part of a rising trend of environmental activists who are playing on the public sympathies for the plight of some of the most impoverished people in America to gain national attention for their cause of stopping the development of out energy infrastructure.
As the protest has swelled and conditions deteriorated, rhetoric toward the project has shifted among many of the environmental activists, who originally stood beside the tribe on their claim of water supply safety. Now as the opposition pivots toward an anti-fossil fuel agenda, the influence of groups like EarthJustice becomes apparent. (You remember that group. I wrote about them earlier.)
As a key group in the radical environmental lobby, EarthJustice – who has sued to block energy projects across North America – is now suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes. Why? They claim construction of the pipeline will endanger the water supply in Lake Oahe.
Should I also note that neither EarthJustice, nor the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe decided to participate in the open public hearings held on the pipeline?
The simple fact is, these scare tactics are meant to do just that, scare up opposition to the pipeline, whip up protestors, and make the construction of this project something for people to fear. But when you look below the surface nonsense, it’s clear that this meant to paralyze decision makers as well as taxpayers who will be left holding the bag when the protest is over and the costs are tallied.
The bottom line is that we went through the process, and this project should be allowed to proceed along the route that was approved by the each of the four state’s involved in the approval process.
Pipelines such as Dakota Access and Keystone XL do bring jobs and economic opportunity to thousands from communities along the route, and will provide an invaluable service through the safe and reliable transportation of energy produced in our country.
In the case of this pipeline, they followed the rule of law, and were given the green light to proceed. It’s time to make it so.