There are a few things we can probably all agree on: America needs to be energy independent, and America needs to decrease its reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Both of those things go hand-in-hand most of the time; but because we can’t snap our fingers and magically conjure up a universal new energy plan that spans the continental (and non-continental) United States, taking measures to make our energy resources cleaner, safer, and more efficient is still a step in the right direction.
Unless you’re a tribalist or limousine liberal, of course. Then, your emotional gut response takes precedence over facts and reality. And any reasonable and rational outlet for this plausible concern gets thrown right out the motherfucking window.
Let’s break this down to its basic elements.
The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.78 Billion (with a Carl Sagan “B”) project, connecting the expanding Bakken and Three Forks light crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. It will enable more direct access to this resource for major refining markets. The cost-effective and objectively safer transportation of up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day also represents the temporary creation of up to 12,000 jobs during construction, millions of local revenues during construction and $156 million in sales and income taxes, along with $55 million annually in property taxes to the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois which would be utilized for schools, hospitals, and other critical state needs.
The Dakota Access, LLC has already jumped though all of the environmental, legal, health, land, economic approval commissions, checks, and regulatory hoops. As far as anyone who’s looked into the issue can tell, the Dakota Access permits were granted legally, following all preliminary investigations, archaeological and historical input and studies, and having the Army Corps of Engineers meet publicly hundreds of times with no vitriolic protest.
But, to be fair, at that point Leonardo DiCaprio, Susan Sarandon, Shailene Woodley and Rosario Dawson weren’t cheering them on–and how’s a movement supposed to gain any steam without celebrity endorsements and a widespread #NoDAPL hashtag summoning even more ignorant opinions from the Twitterati? How are we supposed to feel bad for these socioeconomic cultural water-heads without the mainstream media being plastered with images of guard dogs barking at them while they attempt to attack contractors?
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council, who are at the epicenter of the fight against the pipeline seem very gung-ho about this project being shut down; specifically by President Obama, as the Keystone XL project has been. The disputed pipeline drew ire and attention when it became noted that the pipeline’s path falls somewhat near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, adding insult to injury, claims of desecration of land, and pretty much whatever other excuses they can scrounge up…all legitimate concerns that could have been brought up during the process leading up to the pipeline’s approval, had the tribe’s chairman felt the need to voice these issues at the time.
The main combative arguments of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their pugnacious environmentalist supporters are that they want to secure a “safe and productive” environment for their children (which a pipeline would accomplish far better, and arguably far safer than a rail transport system) and that a pipeline crossing essential bodies of water would be detrimental to the safety of the people. The real argument is anti-corporate, as it always is, and what started out as an environmental concern for the Sioux Reservation became a rally to throw the fat cats into the fire–a sentiment that inevitably becomes spiteful and violent.
Despite the A-OK given by the Army Corps of Engineers and the seal of approval from the American Farm Bureau, protesters still feel the need to threaten and harass pipeline workers. Protesters who are then shocked when said Pipeline Workers hire personal security with dogs and pepper spray to ward off ill-informed and delusional hippies who care even less about their own safety than the people they claim to be fighting for.
Even Green Party nominee Jill Stein took a break from Googling Tupac Shakur lyrics to get herself charged with spray paint vandalism at a pipeline protest.
Obviously, the government is incompetent, and has a lousy track record of handling any kind of disaster. So skepticism is absolutely warranted. However, it is not in a company’s best interest to fuck this up, or poison Native Americans. And this methodology for sweet oil transportation is worlds safer than the manner in which it is currently done. Evil or benevolent, these companies are in the business of making money, not ruining lives and pepper-spraying retarded teenagers.
So give it a rest. Not all crosses exist for you to die on, most are just telephone poles transporting a necessary commodity from one location to another.
If you’re interested in more facts, check out the DAPL Fact Sheet.
If you think these heavily researched findings are just the lies and bullshit of corporate shills, check out these heavily researched facts instead.
If you still can’t wrap your head around why these protests are corrosive, violent, hypocritical bullshit, just stare at this until you feel sleepy.