By Mike McCleary, The Bismarck Tribune, December 11, 2016
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., stressed the potential long-term impact of the decision.
“Refusing the easement has ramifications over the long term. If companies and individuals cannot rely on a system that follows the rule of law, nobody will risk making future investments in our country’s vital infrastructure. That will make our nation vulnerable and less secure.”
The Tribune has been supportive of pipelines as a means of moving oil since the oil boom began. Pipelines are more efficient for moving oil than railroads and trucks. Yes, there’s risk attached to all of them, but not only has pipeline safety been improved over the years, there are far more truck and train incidents resulting in oil spills than there are pipeline breaks.
There are pipelines operating throughout the country, including at least 2,840 crossing rivers (wyofile.com, 8/4/15). They are an essential part of commerce. The DAPL pipeline will be the safest river-crossing pipeline ever built and as close to foolproof as can be.
The decision not to grant the easement is bad policy, one that has the fingerprints of politics on it. The original intent of the protests, to protect the water, has turned into an anti-oil campaign and an effort to reclaim what protesters consider unceded tribal lands.
The decision by groups involved in the protest to maintain a presence at the camps until the pipeline issue is resolved means law enforcement resources will continue to be strained. It means continued problems for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The corps decision to conduct an additional review of the project means there will be likely more protests, more costs for law enforcement and more damage to Standing Rock’s reputation in North Dakota. The responsibility falls on the corps and administration.