Letter: ‘Water protectors’ bad for environment

Letter: ‘Water protectors’ bad for environment

May 2, 2017


The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are finally gone. Calling themselves “water protectors,” they contaminated a thousand acres of pristine grassland (also a sensitive wildlife habitat) and left behind mountains of trash, human waste and hazardous fuels. An early thaw turned their campsite into a muddy cesspool. Included in the debris were dozens of abandoned cars, structures, propane tanks, 12 dogs, and a dead body. The body, a known protester, was found April 9 in the Cannonball River by a local fisherman.

In late February the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent $1.1 million to clean up the protest camps, hauling away 835 dumpsters (8,170 cubic yards) of trash and debris. The local tribes were concerned that snowmelt would inevitably wash tons of garbage and waste into the Cannonball River. Of course it’s impossible to remove every drop and particle of waste. The Missouri River downstream from the Cannonball is almost certainly polluted. Don’t drink that “protected” water.

Most of the “water protectors” were paid protesters, many with criminal records. The Sierra Club and Greenpeace were among the organizations that compensated them. Among environmentalists, these organizations are respected and considered responsible. So why did none of their check writers bother to contract for trash dumpsters and outhouses? This is shocking negligence.

If future protests don’t include facilities for waste disposal, they will do only harm. In the spirit of good environmentalism, recycle bins should also be provided.

I’ll take my chances with the pipeline company. They know how to handle oil spills and will respond immediately. Oil doesn’t mix with water like sewage does.

Let the oil flow. Cheap energy from fossil fuels has kept 7 billion people from starving. If we stop using coal, oil and natural gas, most of us will starve to death in the dark. Since 1980 there has been an 80 percent increase in the use of fossil fuels. They now supply 86 percent of the world’s energy. See page 44 of Alex Epstein’s book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” Google the title and you can download the first chapter free. It’s good reading.

Dale P. Ferguson

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