The pipeline’s approved; environmentalists are angry.

By |2016-08-08T13:32:30+00:00August 8th, 2016|CFACT Insights|8 Comments

dapl2Final federal approval for what is being called the “new Keystone” came from the Army Corps of Engineers on July 26—allowing the pipeline to move forward. The 1,168-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also called the Bakken Pipeline, is comparable in length to the Keystone XL. It will cross four states and carry 450,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to a transfer terminal in Illinois where it will connect with other pipelines and be taken to refineries.

The $3.8 billion dollar project has pitted environmentalists against economic interests.

During the Keystone fight, outspoken opponent Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, said: “In America we should be focused on making sure that the oil in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and others, in Montana, that that oil is getting to market.” Now, thanks to DAPL, America’s oil will have a safer way to get “to market”—freeing up as many as 750 train cars a day to transport corn, soybeans, and grain.

However, as soon as DAPL came on the scene, they moved the marker, and environmental opposition was mounted. Bold Iowa, a group that shares a website with Kleeb’s Bold Nebraska, says it has members willing to risk arrest in “nonviolent protests.” They are also training monitors to report any environmental violations or hazards.

On August 1, nine pieces of heavy equipment—excavators and siouxriotbulldozers—were set on fire at three different DAPL construction sites, causing $3 million in damage. At the time of this writing, no arrests have been made. Additionally, protestors have gathered on the grounds of the North Dakota Capitol, calling for Governor Jack Dalrymple and legislators to put a halt to construction of the pipeline until their lawsuits are addressed.

On its “Stop the Bakken Pipeline” page, the Iowa Sierra Club posted: “A new pipeline will delay the U.S. transition to clean and renewable energy and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The United States needs to move away from fossil fuel extractions and to energy sources that have less impact on climate change.”

shrillaryThe Club’s position sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s. When she finally came out against Keystone, she said: “We need to be transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy.” She called the pipeline “a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change.”

Opposition, however, is not as broad-based as the environmental groups had hoped for. At an April meeting of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition in Iowa, organizers were disappointed. Chairs were set up for 200, but only about 40 “trickled in.” In the four states the pipeline will cross, more than 90 percent, on average, of the landowners signed the voluntary easement agreements.

At its peak, the DAPL’s construction is expected to involve as many as 4,000 workers in each state and will require the purchase of $200 million in American-made heavy construction and related equipment from Caterpillar, Deere, and Vermeer.

Cory Bryson, Business Agent for Laborers Local 563, reports: oilfieldwork“We’ve been inundated with calls from all over the country from people wanting to work on this pipeline project. Mainline pipeline projects like Dakota Access provide excellent working opportunities for our members and tremendous wages. The Laborers excel at this work.” No wonder men and women want to travel to the pipeline’s locale, some workers, most without college degrees, brag about banking $2,000 to $5,000 a week.

In Illinois, the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce has assembled hundreds of packets with information including restaurants, health-care facilities, RV sites, and Laundromats. Executive Director Lisa Musch reports that her office has been receiving calls for months from people looking for rental properties.

Teriann Gutierrez, a retired plastics engineer who is owner of Buena Vista Farms, a resort and campground, says: “I’ve been full since the beginning of April.” She told me the boost in population is bringing a lot of money into the community that has been hit hard with the loss of manufacturing jobs. DAPL is putting a lot of local people to work. Gutierrez is very thankful as the boom means she’ll be able to pay down debt.

“Like any major construction project, the DAPL will create, and more importantly maintain, high paying American jobs throughout the supply chain and throughout the nation,” North Dakota’s at-large Congressman Kevin Cramer said.

Cramer contined: “I’ve seen the crews that work on building the line and they take great pride in their craft. They spend money in local, usually rural, communities throughout the route. The steel suppliers and equipment manufacturers and distributors are just a few of the links in the chain. Everybody from fry cooks to hotel owners to financiers are affected. Perhaps, most importantly, in a low price crude market, the economics of moving oil by the most efficient and safe manner possible preserves jobs on the production side of the equation as well.”

pipelineworkerWhile DAPL is already creating lots of jobs, it is just one of many pipeline projects in the works that could be bringing much needed economic development to other communities and high-paying jobs for American workers.

Gutierrez explained that, according to the workers staying at Buena Vista Farms: “The hardest thing is getting the permits. The long process holds up jobs.” Apparently, many of them made reservations but, then, had to delay them—and delay starting to work on the pipeline—because the permits hadn’t been approved as expected. It doesn’t have to be that way. Under President Obama, permitting for oil-and-gas activity has been slow-walked. Jobs have been held up.

Donald Trump has made clear that he’ll support pipelines and said he’ll invite TransCanada to reapply for the Keystone permit. On the other side, Clinton opposed Keystone and supports moving away from fossil fuels. Secretary of State John Kerry, Clinton’s successor, has implied that with “some 300 pipelines” we really don’t need any more. He said: “it’s not as if we’re pipeline-less.” A Clinton Administration would likely extend the Obama delay tactic.

Whichever candidate wins in November will appoint agency heads who support his or her views—thus driving the policy direction.

Like Gutierrez, union members are grateful for the jobs. Last week, antipipelienDave Barnett, Pipeline Representative for the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry, told me: “We are pleased that the thousands of job opportunities associated with these projects are being decided on their need and merits, not on political pressures by extremists as the Keystone XL was.”

Whether the thousands of additional job opportunities materialize depends on American voters. Will we vote for pipelines that fuel the American economy and transport our natural resources safely and cheaply? Or, will we block job creation and economic development by voting with the environmentalists who want to “keep it in the ground?” In less than 100 days, we’ll have the answer to these important questions.


  1. Sam Pyeatte August 8, 2016 at 9:00 PM

    The decision to build a pipeline is made by the free market with private money, not government money. The same situation as the Keystone XL. The difference between the two is strictly who issues the building permit. The State Department only controls the border crossing and cannot touch the pipeline just approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Finally, the good guys win one at the expense of the dark side.

    • Marita K Noon August 9, 2016 at 12:37 AM

      Thanks Sam!

  2. Brin Jenkins August 10, 2016 at 6:20 AM

    Typical Bolshevik attitudes, democracy is thrown out of the window by folks claiming to be Democrats. Why do they not see the irony here .

  3. Timothy_Bair August 10, 2016 at 11:06 AM

    THIS is the EXACT FIRST proposed route…which CONFIRMS my original
    supposition…this was all about extortion by Obama to have termination
    point in ILLINOIS where oil must be transloaded BY BUFFETT’S RAIL AND

  4. ptsstaff August 10, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    The DAPL is great for the USA, but California will miss out.

    California is in a precarious position, being an energy island with the Sierra Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. The 40,000,000 million gallons of transportation fuel being consumed every day by the present 32 million vehicles are only manufactured here in California by the few refineries that are left, as virtually no other state or country can provide our boutique fuels in a timely manner to California. Sounds like a lot of fuel, but it equates to about 1-gallon per day per vehicle. If it was more cost effective to import our boutique transportation fuels from other States or Countries that have significantly less environmental controls than California, it would already be in place. Fuel price volatility is what we live with in California.

    Most of the USA is decreasing imports of crude oil from foreign countries as they take advantage of domestic oil production. In fact, in 2016, Congressional Leaders agreed to lift the 40-Year Ban on Oil Exports so the USA is now an exporter of crude oil. With the recent approval of the 1,172-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also called the Bakken Pipeline that is comparable in length to the Keystone XL. The DAPL pipeline is projected to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2016 and will cross four mid-western states and carry 450,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to a transfer terminal in Illinois where it will connect with other pipelines and be taken to market. HOWEVER, California is increasing their imports of crude as the California “energy island” has no access to the growth in domestic oil production, other than crude by rail.

    The environmental crusaders are also unaware that wind and solar are only able to provide intermittent electricity to the grid, but cannot provide the oil or the oil by-products that are the basis of every component of modern civilizations’ industries and infrastructures.

    California fuels prices are SUPPOSED TO BE HIGHER THAN THE REST OF THE USA for 6 reasons: 1) the 32 million vehicles in California are consuming 40,000,000 gallon of transportation fuels every day that are manufactured in-state. Sounds like a lot of fuel but it equates to about one gallon per day per vehicle. 2) California is an energy island with the Sierra Mountain on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. 3) California has boutique fuel brands that no one else in the country currently makes. If other States chose to manufacture the California boutique fuels, the only way to get it to the California energy island is to ship it thru the Panama Canal. 4) California fuel taxes are the highest in the country. 5) California has cap and trade costs that are added to the cost of fuel. With our transportation infrastructure in need of a heavy infusion of funds, Sacramento will be approving more taxes that will further increase the costs of our transportation fuels, and 6) California consumers continue to pay for our go-it-alone emissions crusade over the last 10 years that has generated more than $7 billion in taxes for the government with no results in reducing California’s 1% contribution to the World’s Greenhouse Gases. California was contributing 1% in 2006, and today a decade later, according to the California energy commission, California is still contributing 1%.

    If it were more cost effective to import some of the 40 million gallons of manufactured transportation fuel used daily from other States or Countries, it would already be done.

  5. taxpayer22 August 12, 2016 at 2:18 PM

    Pipelines are safer than Warren Buffet’s RR.

    the Real issue is not about the Environment.

  6. VACornell August 17, 2016 at 11:30 PM

    We should still get going on the Keystone XL pipeline…
    From Canada to Texas…
    This is North American oil…
    Use it..!

  7. Beatlebaum December 23, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    What I don’t understand about the environmentalists is the fact they the extraction of fossil fuels is environmentally damaging. What about square miles of windmills, solar radiation farms and solar cell farms. Windmills kill birds. Bald eagles are often enough killed by windmills. If any other industry or if a person killed an eagle there would be fines to pay. Owners of wind farms get a pass, that’s not right. Until renewable fuels are advanced by still in the future research, fossil fuels will be needed if economy is to be considered.

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