Pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects across the country have been shelved or significantly delayed because of new regulations, local environmental opposition and a drop in energy prices, according to a piece in recent Wall Street Journal.
If the liberal environmental activists had their way, the same scenario would be playing out right here in South Dakota. Thankfully, South Dakotans tend to have a bit more sense. But that hasn’t stopped others from trying to jump in on the action.
Last month, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio weighed in on the project.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) May 10, 2016
The tweet at first appears to be something of a coincidence given his environmentalist tilt, and his recent movie that allegedly takes place in South Dakota, but was actually filmed elsewhere. But in the world of the left’s opposition to our country’s energy infrastructure, tweets like that don’t just drop out of thin air.
Mr. DiCaprio has worked for many years with EarthJustice, an environmental advocacy group with a long history of suing federal agencies to stop critical infrastructure projects. In particular, EarthJustice is known for publicly opposing this specific project. Their most recent endeavor was working in tandem with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to promote a sister petition to the cleverly named “Rezpect Our Waters” petition advocating against the pipeline to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The 1,100 mile Dakota Access Pipeline Project carrying U.S. crude oil from the Bakken has received approval by four state regulatory agencies including South Dakota’s own Public Utilities Commission and this week could receive clearance to begin construction in Iowa. Yet national environmental interests have mobilized in a last ditch effort to slow or stop a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for a mere 3% of the overall pipeline route.
So, where does Leonardo come in? A recent email shared with SDWC shows that a federal entity under the Obama Administration called the “Advisory Council of Historic Preservation (ACHP)” sent an email to a list of U.S. Army Corps staff, State officials, and tribal leaders on the proposed pipeline project.
Oh. And they included a hippie liberal group for good measure:
*Click to Enlarge*
Buried among the necessary regulators and tribes in South Dakota and other states was the email address of a staff attorney at Earthjustice, “JHasselman,” or Jan Hasselman from what I can tell. Hasselman calls Seattle home and has made a living opposing energy infrastructure projects from coast to coast, such as the Constitution Pipeline in the northeast and coal export terminals in Washington State.
While this particular e-mail went out after the tweet, the question has to be asked about what information was regularly being provided to them as the project went along? Because it’s doubtful this was a one-time occurrence.
It doesn’t take a leap of logic to consider that e-mails, which appeared to have been intended for public officials (except for Earthjustice) are quickly disseminated and are passed from them to the highest profile celebrity in their quiver of Hollywood elite in an attempt to try to manipulate public sentiment. Groups like Earthjustice, Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council all have friends in high places, with billionaire foundations funding many of their programs and efforts to block these sorts of projects.
And who suffers? Not Leonardo, who can afford to fly jets to receive self-congratulatory environmental awards. But the farmers and ranchers and run of the mill taxpayers who depend on cheap energy to go about the tasks of their daily lives.
At the end of the day, when will these groups stop hurting states’ sovereign right to approve and allow important energy infrastructure projects like Dakota Access?
The South Dakota PUC along with other states have already deemed the project safe and beneficial. Yet we’re stuck with groups likes Earthjustice and celebrities like Mr. DiCaprio to co-opt our right to make decisions here at home and prevent thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.
It’s time these groups stop interfering with the legal regulatory process and let us work our way towards energy independence.