This letter responds to two Courier editorials (Sept. 8 and Dec. 5, 2016), that address protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (crude oil) by Energy Transfer Partners.
I understand that the protests are directed at protecting the tribe’s main water source and its ancestral lands.
This $3.78 billion pipeline project, which spans 1,172 miles, begins in North Dakota at the Bakken shale reserves, crosses South Dakota and Iowa and ends in Illinois. Planned completion was by Jan. 1, 2017. On Dec. 4, 2016, with the project 87 percent complete, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the prompting of the White House, refused approval of an easement for the last segment of construction that passes under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir. Consequently, construction came to a halt. In follow up, the Corps requested that alternate routes be studied.
My assessment of the two editorials was that they: support the protests; believe that the tribe was wronged; suggest that the tribe was not informed about the project; suggest that the sponsors of the project are driven by greed; suggest that project approval by the government was flawed and too rapid for appropriate assessment; and, finally, declare that projects of this nature should not be allowed to creep up on impacted parties.
My thoughts concerning the protests are directed toward the good of all humanity, and are counter to those of the Courier and include: crude oil is a vital finite resource (worldwide, at current consumption rates will last 50 years), therefore, it seems prudent that it be utilized efficiently so that its life be maximized; oil imports are a major contributor to the U.S. trade deficit; moving crude oil via pipeline is the most cost effective and safest method of transportation; obstructions to crude oil transportation increase costs, “sweeten” the trade deficit and accelerate depletion of crude reserves; regarding informational meetings, invitations were sent out but “few” came (read the Sept. 19, 2016 Courier editorial); regarding government review and public input, detailed plans were submitted, concerns were addressed, resulting in 140 modifications to the selected route.
While the Courier finds the “fruits” of the Standing Rock Sioux protests inspiring, I find them disheartening. When protests lack substance, focus on remote happenings, exaggerate the subsequent consequences, that, in turn, incite violence and destruction of property I have a problem.
I propose that all those “marchers” and sympathizers indoctrinated by “Black Lives Matter,” instead of destroying construction equipment and laying in ambush for the law, show your support for the embattled Standing Rock tribe by ceasing immediately to purchase and use gasoline and all other of the plus 6,000 products made from crude oil (“printers ink,” plastics, tires, etc.). Protesters make your mark now.