Controversial Oil Pipeline Bringing Prosperity to North Dakota
The Post via Punching Bag Media
by Kerry Lear
January 6, 2018
Even though the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline project has been operational for only the last six months, it is already bringing substantial prosperity to North Dakota.
The oil production has surged, specifically 78,000 more barrels of oil were produced daily between September and October. The state also has 15 more drilling rigs operating this January compared to last year.
Energy companies are saving costs on energy transportation. The oil is also no longer being moved to the Gulf Coast, where it’s much more money.
North Dakota’s state revenue has spiked by $43.5 million in the first five months that the pipeline was operating. The state is also expected to see $210 million to $250 million in additional tax revenue during this period.
“That’s exceeded expectations,” said Ryan Rauschenberger, the tax commissioner.
The pipeline project has led to significant job growth too. There are 850 wells need fracking crews.
In January, President Donald Trump signed two presidential memoranda in support of both the Dakota and Keystone XL pipelines.
This was the start of the end of the suspension that was put in place on Dakota pipeline project by the US Army Corps of Engineers last year.
Environmental groups spent significant efforts to fight the decision to continue the project due to its potential impact on the environment, drinking water, and the damage that would be done to the sacred burial sites in the route of the pipeline.
Thousands stood in protest of the pipeline, some even got violent. The protests ended up costing taxpayers millions for the law enforcement efforts and the ongoing cleanup.
Proponents argued that the pipeline was necessary to provide a more cost-effective and efficient means of transporting crude oil, instead of relying heavily on trains.
On June 1, 2017, the pipeline officially became operational.
Although environmentalists continue to fight against the energy companies, the pipeline has been a victory for the environment in another regard, along with public safety. Only two trains pass through daily, versus the 12 that did in the past the last time the oil production was this high. This means there are less oil spill accidents and CO2 emissions.
Author’s note: It looks as though the pipeline profit is exceeding expectations. This is just the beginning too.
Editor’s note: Here’s a fun fact for you. The world produces 96 million barrels of oil per day. The U.S. consumes 19.7 million barrels per day. North Dakota is now shipping about 1.2 million barrels per day. At $60 per barrel, this means about $26 billion a year is flowing through the pipeline, which is roughly equivalent to North Dakota’s entire GDP.
On December 4, 2017 U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued an order that came nearly six months after he ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had to review the project which transports oil from North Dakota near Native American reservations to Illinois.
The judge stood up in this order for the Native American tribal rights by giving them more control, something which until recently has been lacking not only in the Dakota Pipeline controversy but for many years. If you look at the map above, it appears that the pipeline barely intersects with tribal land. The real problem that the tribal counsil is worried about is the pollution of their drinking water and lands. They were asked to attend well over 500 meetings on the topic apparently. You have to admit the EPA and other groups in government have been less than adequate in taking precautions or using good practices.
The protests for the last year have not actually been mostly Native Americans. In fact, most of the local area residents are sick and tired of all the “tourist protestors” who have come from across the world to stand supposedly for native rights but in fact have no understanding of its location, the complaints, or respect for the Native American ways.
In October the judge ruled that crude oil can continue to flow through the 1,170-mile (1,900-km) North Dakota-to-Illinois pipeline while the review is conducted. It has shipped crude since June.
In his December order, Judge Boasberg made the following statement —
“Plaintiffs request three specific conditions during the remand period: (1) the finalization
and implementation of oil-spill response plans at Lake Oahe; (2) completion of a third-party
compliance audit; and (3) public reporting of information regarding pipeline operations. See
ECF 272 (Tribes’ Brief Regarding Remedy) at 36-39. The Court agrees that each of these
measures is appropriately tailored to monitoring the status of the pipeline during remand.”
1) The Court will order that the Corps, Dakota Access, and the Tribes coordinate to finalize spill response plans at Lake Oahe, and that the parties file such plans with the Court by April 1, 2018.
2) The Court will additionally impose the second requested condition – namely, the
completion of a third-party compliance audit. The Court will therefore order that Dakota Access select an independent, third-party auditor in consultation with the Tribes.
3) The Court will order that Dakota Access file bi-monthly reports of any repairs or incidents occurring at the segment of the pipeline crossing Lake Oahe.
This is a decades long fight across the world and especially in the US. However, environmentalists cannot possible know about or have the good of the tribes at their core. If they had, then where have they been for the last hundred years? Do they have offices in or near reservations across the country to help employ and protect the Native American rights? They simply have found another way to validate their existence.
I am not saying there are not problems with any method of oil extraction and transportation. There are many accidents as we have seen. However, at the same time, I personally would far rather have a carefully monitored and controlled pipeline than have all the eighteen wheelers crisscrossing through the country through numerous largely populated areas or vital farmland along poorly maintained highways with the vagaries of weather and bad drivers to deal with. For that matter an even greater fear to me are the train tankers rolling through many cities at critical areas where houses, lake, rivers, and mountains all play into safety issues. Living in Louisiana I am also extremely aware of how even a momentary or poorly planned decision can create a massive ocean catastrophe.
As I see it the transportation of oil and gas are better contained with a properly modernized pipeline — again with careful safety maintenance and closely monitored companies. I am more against possible ground leaks and pollution from fracking and sludge pits than I am against a pipeline.