The Dakota Access Pipeline – The Controversy Continues

Horses and riders from the Rosebud reservation arrive to support the Standing Rock community. The horses are in traditional Lakota regalia. (Photo Credit- Daniella Zalcman)
Horses and riders from the Rosebud reservation arrive to support the Standing Rock community. The horses are in traditional Lakota regalia. (Photo Credit- Daniella Zalcman)

Earlier this week, the protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) had a victory.  Federal officials have denied the final permits required for the pipeline to traverse across the sacred tribal lands in North Dakota.   The Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday announced it would instead conduct an environmental impact review of the 1,170-mile pipeline project and determine if there are other ways to route it to avoid a crossing under the Missouri River.

Even after this victory, instead of leaving, the protesters will continue to protest in the bitter cold, now claiming only a small victory because of the potential reversal by the Trump administration when it comes to power in January 2017.

There is also talk of Trump’s “financial holding” and stock in Energy Transfer Partners and Phillip 66, both which own shares in Dakota Access.  It was reported this week that Trump has already sold his stock holdings in these companies.

According to Representative Kevin Cramer (@RepKevinCramer), who is the U.S. representative for North Dakota’s at-large district and serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, there are many facts about the pipeline that the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation Protesters do not want you to hear.

Some key points include:

  • Although the Tribes have been concerned about the risk of a leak contaminating drinking water from the Missouri River, Standing Rock will soon have a new water intake that is nearing completion much further downstream near Mobridge, South Dakota.
  • From the outset of this process, Standing Rock Sioux leaders have refused to sit down and meet with either the Army Corps of Engineers or the pipeline company.
  • The Army Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times, after which they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas in North Dakota. The logical time for Standing Rock tribal leaders to share their concerns would have been at these meetings, not now when construction is already near completion.
  • The original pipeline was always planned for south of Bismarck, despite false claims that it was originally planned for north of Bismarck and later moved, thus creating a greater environmental danger to the Standing Rock Sioux.  The real reasons for not pursuing the northern route were that the pipeline would have affected an additional 165 acres of land, 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas, and an additional 33 water bodies.  It would also have crossed zones marked by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as “high consequence” areas, and would have been 11 miles longer than the preferred and current route.
  • Though these protesters claim to be gathered for peaceful prayer and meditation, law enforcement has been forced to arrest more than 400 in response to several unlawful incidents, including trespassing on and damaging private land, chaining themselves to equipment, burning tires and fields, damaging cars and a bridge, harassing residents of nearby farms and ranches, and killing and butchering livestock. There was even at least one reported incident where gun shots were fired at police.
  • The recent vandalization of graves in a Bismarck cemetery and the unconscionable graffiti marking on the North Dakota column at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., are examples of how the protesters’ actions do not match their claims of peaceful demonstration. (The Daily Signal)

Facts about the Pipeline and it’s National and Local Economic Impact

The Dakota Access Pipeline Project is a new approximate 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline will enable domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to reach major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and environmentally responsible manner. The pipeline will also reduce the current use of rail and truck transportation to move Bakken crude oil to major U.S. markets to support domestic demand.  (Energy Transfer Facts)

Increasing production of our domestic resources which will decrease our dependency of foreign oil.  The North Dakota Bakken has noticed a significant increase in oil production with over a million barrels of crude oil production per day since 2014.   At its completion, the pipeline is forecast deliver 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Dakotas to Illinois.  The pipeline will also eliminate the risk of truck and rail spills and save an enormous amount of money on oil transport.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.7 billion investment that will create 8,000 to 12,000 local jobs during construction. Millions of hours of labor will be needed during the construction phase, putting welders, mechanics, electricians, pipefitters, heavy equipment operators and others within the heavy construction industry to work. There will also be increased demand for those who manufacture the steel pipes, fittings, valves, pumps and control devices necessary for a major pipeline, and local economies along the route will feel direct impact through the expanded use of hotels, motels, restaurants, and other services. (Energy Transfer Website)

Protesters celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp earlier Sunday. The Army Corps of Engineers notified the Standing Rock Sioux that the current route for the Dakota Access Pipeline will be denied. ( Photo Credit - Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters celebrate at Oceti Sakowin Camp earlier Sunday. The Army Corps of Engineers notified the Standing Rock Sioux that the current route for the Dakota Access Pipeline will be denied.
( Photo Credit – Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Land Treaties,  Indian Tribes and the Environmental Agenda

The crux of the DAPL controversy is the location of the proposed pipeline, running through Tribal lands allocated in past treaties by the US Government and environmental concerns with the transportation of fossil fuels that might contaminate water resources, infringe on tribal fishing rights, or desecrate tribal sacred lands.

But is this actually true?  The answers are not that simple.

The controversy goes much deeper than that.  For many years, Tribal leaders have seen the government break its treaties and loose valuable land.

The environmentalists have jumped on the band wagon and allied with Native American nations because they often have treaty rights over land and water use that the U.S. government is obliged to honor.  However, the government is honoring these treaties less and less with every passing generation.

The environmental group, Earthjustice is now using this project and the Sioux Tribe to further their anti-pipeline agenda.  They are accused of using the Sioux as pawns in their bid to block energy-development in the United States.

At this time, it’s also not clear whether the land in the area is actually Sioux territory.  It is also not clear of where the boundry begins and ends.

As Representative Kevin Cramer pointed out:  “The original pipeline was always planned for south of Bismarck, despite false claims that it was originally planned for north of Bismarck and later moved, thus creating a greater environmental danger to the Standing Rock Sioux.  The real reasons for not pursuing the northern route were that the pipeline would have affected an additional 165 acres of land, 48 extra miles of previously undisturbed field areas, and an additional 33 water bodies.  It would also have crossed zones marked by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as “high consequence” areas, and would have been 11 miles longer than the preferred and current route.”

It’s also clear that the tribes including standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archaumbault II have had plenty of time to ‘come to the table’ and negotiate.  They have refused to do so.

According to an article written by EcoWatch, the standing Rock chairman filed papers one day before they began to bulldoze sites, which he claimed as burial sites.  In fact, a federal judge, just one week earlier, declared that there were no sacred grounds affected.  The pipline construction follows the existing route of the Northern Borders Natural Gas Pipeline that was build in 1982.  There were no identified cemetaries or sacred grounds then or now.  If there were, why didn’t chairman Archaumbault do it earlier instead of waiting until the heavy equipment came in to start construction?

Many commentors including Alan Johnson, who owns property close to this area explains the environmentalist agenda like this:

The area where this pipeline was occupied by Arikara and Mandan indians before the “peaceloving” Sioux moved out of Iowa and Minnesota and pushed the previous occupants out of the way.

Right next to my house is a Butte (tall hill) that was the site of an indian battle before the whites ever moved into this region. In Sioux lore this Butte is the site where they surrounded and massacred a party of either Arikara or Crow indians (which it is varies from one Sioux story teller to another that I have talked to).  I have yet to see where the Sioux have implemented any sort of restoration or reparation process for the previous occupants of the land here. In fact if, and that’s a big IF, there are any cultural sites along the pipeline route, it is just as likely that they would be Arikara, Mandan or Hidatsu sites as it is Sioux. What I find amazing is that you can’t see that in this protest, the Sioux are merely being used as pawns by Earth Justice who simply want to protest any sort of energy development in the US.

Earth Justice is the rabble-rouser pushing the tribe out onto the front lines to protest because they know that liberal, bleeding hearts will quickly come to the defense of the indians regardless of WHAT the issue is. Wake up and open your eyes!

. . . AND if the protestors are all supposedly so peaceful and innocent, try telling that to the mother who was taking her young children to school one morning this last week and was stopped by 3 protestors wearing masks who told her that she could not continue down the road and they forced her to turn around and go back. I also see none of the pictures that included shots of protestors mounted on horseback, wearing masks and brandishing hatchets. Doesn’t that sound like a peaceful group.

The whole protest group is composed of modern-day CAVE people, that is “Citizens Against Virtually Everything”, who if they weren’t protesting the pipeline in North Dakota would have found something somewhere else that they wanted to protest.

The federal government has been seizing land from Lakota and the Dakota people for over 150 years.  Tribes lost land in the Black Hills of South Dakota after gold was discovered in the 1870’s.

Dams were also constructed along the Missouri River that flooded many tribal villages, fertile farmland and timberland in the 1950’s.  Treaties have been violated through changes in geological features in the land often created by the rerouting of water ways.

According to an article published in the Washington Post by Stephen Mufson, “through the ages, the warring tribes of the Northern Plains lived, hunted and fought across a sprawling expanse of land.  Each treaty with the U.S. government, most notably the 1851 and 1868 treaties of Fort Laramie, restricted their movement further, although they left them large areas west of the Missouri River and recognized them as sovereign nations.

In 1889, Congress passed legislation that created the modern reservation system, pushing the Sioux, also known as Lakota, into smaller areas. And later in the 1900s, a series of dams across the Missouri River rolled back the scope of those reservations, too.”  (A Dakota Pipeline’s Last Stand)

The Controversy Continues

Presently, the controversy of this ‘win’ will likely change in scope over the next few months.  The protesters have vowed to continue protesting.  The controversy of whether to build, not to build, resort to cleaner energy, etc. will continue.  Should Energy Transfer Partners, who reported an over $50 billion dollar revenue (a 175% increase in in growth-source:  Yahoo) reroute the pipeline?  Or do you think it will play out in the courts?  Remember, the US has the most pipelines in the entire world.

I would welcome comments and you decide.

Here are some additional comments concerning the present controversies concerning the Pipeline:

The tribe had ignored several months of permitting hearings that were held at which time they could have registered any concerns they had. The pipeline company had also approached the tribe requesting a meeting to discuss the the pipeline company was wanting to do and get the tribes input into it. The tribe ignored every request for a meeting from the contractor. It was not till the 11th hour when the environmentalist group Earthjustice approached the tribe and found that the tribe could be used as colorful pawns in the groups plans to block an energy development project. Earthjustice realizes that a group of eco-activists marching around carrying some signs does NOT pull at the heartstrings of each and every bleeding heart liberal the way that pushing the Indians out onto the front lines for sound bites and photo ops will. Earthjustice is providing all the legal representation for the tribe in the legal actions that the tribe has filed.

Long and short of it is is that if the eco-terrorists like Earthjustice are successful in choking off all energy developments in the US, which is what their goal is, you had better dig grandmas kerosene lantern out of the closet and sharpen your ax to cut some firewood because these eco-terrorist groups will have all of us living a 17th century life style.- Alan Johnson


If you’re a true conservative, you must favor alternative sustainable energy over fossil fuel. If you believe in god and his blessings of clean air, fertile soil and pure water, then you must support the Standing Rock Earth Protectors. And if you worry about your children’s and grand children’s future, you must vote in November for only earth protectors. This election is an important turning point in the fight to preserve humanity. If your candidates deny climate change or say they aren’t scientists and don’t know enough to make rational decisions about our climate and comprehensive energy reform, kick them to the curb. They’re too ignorant to deserve your vote.

More than 100,000 protectors, Native tribes, farmers, landowners and activists from Bold Nebraska, the Sierra Club, IL Climate Activists, 350.org, Bold Iowa and others, inspired President Obama to decide against approving Keystone XL

I believe American’s can stop Keystone clone Dakota Access and also shut down Line 3 and it’s replacement if we stand up in unprecedented numbers. It’s our responsibility as thinking human beings, to oppose and delay the damage being done by fossil fuel interests, including the banks and investors they’re leveraged to, until sustainable energy can prevail.  – readsome5


We are a nation of laws and anyone who proceeds with any development project has to surmount a series of hurdles designed to protect the environment and cultural artifacts. Since the pipeline investors and builders have permits in hand we can presume they are following the law.

The protesters are not and should bear that weight. The rule of law is all we have to keep us safe and secure. – edbyronadams


Ever heard of clean energy? it’s time to stop using fossil fuels NOW. many countries are already weening themselves off fossil fuels (New Zealand, the Scandinavian countries).-nestormakhno


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