Didn’t I read somewhere that the Keystone XL project application just turned seven or something like that? Well, here we go again with more stalling tactics designed to make energy production more expensive in the country. Except this time, it’s the Dakota Access pipeline.
It’s as if they want to drag energy production to a standstill in the United States.
As state utility agencies begin holding hearings to look at the application of the Dakota Access Pipeline, it seems we have the same types of opposing groups that ground Keystone to a standstill that have resorted to even more stalling and delaying the process of reviewing the application.
Not more than two hours before South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission began its hearing last week, our far left liberal friends at Dakota Rural Action and others filed a request for a third party environmental impact statement to be conducted before any decision was made.
Luckily in South Dakota, the timing of the request was described by PUC Chairman Chris Nelson as completely “out of line.” And a similar request filed by the Sierra Club was rejected by the Iowa Utilities Board days earlier this week with the Board stating that the “existing agency process has been sufficient to address environmental issues.” The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed another Sierra Club petition for a separate project on similar grounds.
There are good reasons to allow the review process to be conducted by state utility agencies rather than third parties. State agencies like the PUC already require environmental reviews with significant public input. Companies proposing to build projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline conduct environmental and civil surveys, identify sensitive areas to avoid, prepare mitigation and restoration plans (and so on and so on), in consultation with state and local officials.
Second, an additional third party review would only seek to delay vital energy projects, without resolving anything. Last minute requests designed to delay decisions is not in the spirit of environmental protection but rather a perfect example of tactics employed to deny projects that do not align with a group’s intended purpose.
It is hard to imagine that Dakota Rural Action, which started a campaign called No Access, or a coalition called Bakken Pipeline Resistance would accept any conclusion other than the one they have been advocating for. A report attesting to the safe operation of a project such as Dakota Access would no doubt be rejected by these groups.
The simple fact remains that the Dakota Access Pipeline has the potential to make American energy significantly more competitive. It’s the simple law of supply and demand. More supply means cheaper prices.
By shaving off anywhere between $5 and $10 per barrel off transport costs, American manufacturers will be better able to fight against foreign oil prices set by regimes that are not exactly friendly to the United States. Whether these opposition groups acknowledge it or not, pushing for duplicative environmental reviews, which they are sure to reject if they do not go their way, does nothing more than hurt the American economy, hobble our domestic energy sector, and encourage dependence on foreign oil.