February 27, 2017
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
I have held back writing about the following topic for some time now. I was hoping to be successful in separating the fact from the fiction and in this case it has been difficult.
First, let me be clear that I personally think that oil and gas pipelines make perfect sense. I know first hand where several pipelines cross Colorado and I can see that the overall impact is negligible. In most cases, where the pipelines have been in place for a few years, there is little, in any, sign that a pipeline exists, save the yellow markers that warn future excavations.
So, when I learned of the problems being encountered to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline, my first thoughts were in complete support of the project, but it did not surprise me in the least that there were organized protests.
I also happen to believe that protests are appropriate when a person or group of people desire to make a point. The problem is that today’s protests are much more than that. They become an excuse for untold numbers of “followers” and “supporters” that largely have no idea who they are following or what they are really supporting to show up hoping to get their mugs on television or in the newspapers
had no problem with President Trump taking steps to make it possible to complete this pipeline.
As I said before, I had a hard time determining what the facts really are in this case. The confrontations with law enforcement and government officials were largely over-reported, while the underlying facts were brushed over.
Last November a Denver woman, Red Fawn Fallis, was arrested at one of the protest sites for allegedly trying to kill a Pennington County, South Dakota deputy. The news about the protests continually bring that arrest back up, often without noting the date or the exact nature of the arrest and sometimes even making it sound like a new case, but always proclaiming the woman’s innocence. This is just one example of one-sided news coverage.
There are estimates that claim that about 10,000 people joined the campsites that were established near the Standing Rock Sioux property. I say “near” because the pipeline did not actually cross the Standing Rock Reservation. It did cross 1,094 feet of land owned by the federal government. That’s right; of the 1,200 miles of pipeline, we are talking about 1,094 feet. And few news reports mention the fact that the area already contains eight other pipelines and one high-voltage electric transmission line. One of those pipelines is a dual 42-inch line put into service in 1982.
I could go on and on about the logic of completing the pipeline, but that is not really my point. I think the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been dealt a raw deal; not by the government or the Energy Transfer Partners, but by those thousands of people who showed up and then left all their garbage behind. They claimed to be all so worried about the environmental impact of a thousand feet of pipeline and then left enough garbage, human waste and even abandoned dogs behind without considering in the least what would happen when the ground thawed, the rains came and the entire mess could be washed into the surrounding ground and even into the Missouri river.
For about one year these outsiders flocked into the “spiritual camps” to create huge mounds of trash and when they were told to leave, they left. The news often said that the “protesters were cleaning up the area in preparation of being forced to leave.” That statement is not true and I have to empathize with people like Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as she stood in front of cameras and explained that it was her tribe and the state that would be cleaning up the mess.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said the state would be seeking contractors and who would pay the contractors for the cleanup would be determined later. He said he did not want to stand around and argue while the waste and debris floated down the Missouri River. That all boils down to the fact that those so-called supporters are nothing but phonies and have done a great disservice to the people of the Standing Sioux Tribe, the people of North Dakota and the people of the United States in general. I will believe they are serious when they show up with the estimated 2,500 pickup trucks needed to clean up their crap.
Back to the logic of the pipeline for a few thoughts: According to what I have weeded through and believe to be factual, the entire length of the DAP is going to be underground. It does not cross reservation land and will replace between 500 and 700 railcars and another 250 trucks that would be needed to transport the oil. Logic tells me that it is much more likely that there will be an oil spill as a result of a rail or truck accident than it is likely that the pipeline will burst, but I will leave my opinion there and let you arrive at your own.
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© Robert R. Cox 2017