Letter to the Editor

Native Americans Condemn the Dakota Pipeline, the Law Doesn’t

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

According to environmental activists, the Dakota Access Pipeline Project crushed Native American rights, heritage - and objections. But the federal judge presiding over the case says the pipeline company and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been diligent and respectful in their efforts to address Native American concerns.

I’m with the judge on this one.

The pipeline will transport 470,000 barrels of domestically-produced crude oil daily 1,200 miles from the Bakken shale formation in northwest North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, to Illinois refineries.

The majority of the almost-complete pipeline is on private land and needs no federal permits. But it needs Corps permits where it crosses a number of waterways and sits near culturally sensitive areas.

Enter the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe -- trying to scuttle the pipeline - aided and abetted by outside activists, including Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who defaced private property for a photo-op and subsequently earned an arrest warrant.

The tribe claims the Corps didn’t consult it, but U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in his September opinion that the Corps reached out to the tribe multiple times with little to no response. “The Tribe largely refused to engage in consultations,” the judge said. Eventually, the tribe responded, but at the last-minute effort to stop all progress.

The tribe also claims the pipeline ignores Indian heritage lands. The judge disagreed, noting the company used “past cultural surveys” to avoid historic sites, and it “mostly chose to reroute” where “unidentified cultural resources... might be affected.”

Regardless of who wins in the Dakota Access pipeline battle, this won’t be the last of the anti-pipeline demonstrations. The media have widely and favorably covered the protests, so protesters are targeting other pipelines... Those who believe we need fossil fuels -- at least for the foreseeable future - to power our economy and protect us from foreign threats need to resist these radical efforts.