Dakota Pipeline Opponents Speak with Forked Tongue

Having lost both scientifically and politically with the Keystone XL pipeline, deemed safe by Hillary Clinton’s State Department and certain to be approved by a President Trump sworn to develop American energy, opponents of fossil fuels have enlisted the support of American Indians. Opponents are claiming that the Dakota Access Pipeline which, like Keystone XL, will bring oil from the rich Bakken oil field in North Dakota to American markets, will violate and pollute sacred tribal lands.

That they are on slippery ground with the facts has been explained by the Heritage Foundation

This 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois. It will do this job far more safely than the current method of transporting it by 750 rail cars a day.

The protesters say they object to the pipeline’s being close to the water intake of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. However, this should be of no concern as it will sit approximately 92 feet below the riverbed, with increased pipe thickness and control valves at both ends of the crossing to reduce the risk of an incident, which is already low.

As a result of the fracking revolution and shale oil boom, oil train shipments have increased, particularly on a railroad shipping oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation owned by billionaire and friend of Obama, Warren Buffett.

So too have the risks of oil train derailments, fires, and explosions that damage the environment and risk human lives. One of a series of such incidents occurred in Illinois early last March when two cars of a 105-car derailed oil train operated by Buffet’s BNSF Railroad and carrying oil from North Dakota caught fire and sent flames and smoke into the skies over Galena, Illinois, a small town of 3,300 people.

In July of 2013, a 72-car oil train carrying North Dakota crude, a train similar to those criss-crossing the United States, derailed near the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, erupting in a series of explosions, killing 13. It could happen here, and unless more pipelines are built, likely will.   

As Investor’s Business Daily has noted, pipelines are much safer than railroads, yet President Obama and the Democrats are loathe to permit their construction. Pipelines carrying Bakken oil would link up to a completed Keystone XL pipeline, creating American jobs and protecting American lives:

The first is that Keystone XL will also bring Bakken crude to the American market, accelerating the oil boom from fracking in the shale formation centered on North Dakota. This will make North America energy independent and the rest of the world less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, a matter of no small significance.

Second, as the State Department's multiple reviews point out, the Keystone XL pipeline itself poses no serious risk to the environment, no more than the tens of thousands of miles of pipeline that already crisscross the U.S., including one from Canada, all operating quite safely…

A little more than a year ago, Casselton, N.D., had a near-brush with tragedy after a train of tank cars carrying crude oil derailed, resulting in fiery explosions and a call from the town's mayor for a re-examination of how such fuel is transported across the United States.

Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline on environmental grounds ignores the many tens of thousands of existing pipelines that crisscross the United States. Keystone XL was and is a much bigger project yet, as noted, Hillary’s State Department gave it an environmental clean bill of health. As Investor’s Business Daily noted regarding Keystone XL:,

The State Department also found it "very unlikely" that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed. It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, "these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater." There would be no greater danger than that posed by any of the more than 50,000 existing miles of safely operating pipeline already crisscrossing the U.S., including Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer.

As the Heritage Foundation notes, the earlier State Department approval "concluded that the pipeline posed minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, and creates few greenhouse-gas emissions. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by the State Department and the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)."

If Keystone is as safe as any of the other 50,000 miles of pipeline already in place, the nearly complete Dakota Access Pipeline is equally as safe. We need the oil, we need the jobs, we need the energy independence. We do not need to refight the Indian Wars.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

Having lost both scientifically and politically with the Keystone XL pipeline, deemed safe by Hillary Clinton’s State Department and certain to be approved by a President Trump sworn to develop American energy, opponents of fossil fuels have enlisted the support of American Indians. Opponents are claiming that the Dakota Access Pipeline which, like Keystone XL, will bring oil from the rich Bakken oil field in North Dakota to American markets, will violate and pollute sacred tribal lands.

That they are on slippery ground with the facts has been explained by the Heritage Foundation

This 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois. It will do this job far more safely than the current method of transporting it by 750 rail cars a day.

The protesters say they object to the pipeline’s being close to the water intake of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. However, this should be of no concern as it will sit approximately 92 feet below the riverbed, with increased pipe thickness and control valves at both ends of the crossing to reduce the risk of an incident, which is already low.

As a result of the fracking revolution and shale oil boom, oil train shipments have increased, particularly on a railroad shipping oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation owned by billionaire and friend of Obama, Warren Buffett.

So too have the risks of oil train derailments, fires, and explosions that damage the environment and risk human lives. One of a series of such incidents occurred in Illinois early last March when two cars of a 105-car derailed oil train operated by Buffet’s BNSF Railroad and carrying oil from North Dakota caught fire and sent flames and smoke into the skies over Galena, Illinois, a small town of 3,300 people.

In July of 2013, a 72-car oil train carrying North Dakota crude, a train similar to those criss-crossing the United States, derailed near the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, erupting in a series of explosions, killing 13. It could happen here, and unless more pipelines are built, likely will.   

As Investor’s Business Daily has noted, pipelines are much safer than railroads, yet President Obama and the Democrats are loathe to permit their construction. Pipelines carrying Bakken oil would link up to a completed Keystone XL pipeline, creating American jobs and protecting American lives:

The first is that Keystone XL will also bring Bakken crude to the American market, accelerating the oil boom from fracking in the shale formation centered on North Dakota. This will make North America energy independent and the rest of the world less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, a matter of no small significance.

Second, as the State Department's multiple reviews point out, the Keystone XL pipeline itself poses no serious risk to the environment, no more than the tens of thousands of miles of pipeline that already crisscross the U.S., including one from Canada, all operating quite safely…

A little more than a year ago, Casselton, N.D., had a near-brush with tragedy after a train of tank cars carrying crude oil derailed, resulting in fiery explosions and a call from the town's mayor for a re-examination of how such fuel is transported across the United States.

Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline on environmental grounds ignores the many tens of thousands of existing pipelines that crisscross the United States. Keystone XL was and is a much bigger project yet, as noted, Hillary’s State Department gave it an environmental clean bill of health. As Investor’s Business Daily noted regarding Keystone XL:,

The State Department also found it "very unlikely" that the pipeline would affect water quality in any of the four aquifers through which it crossed. It also concluded that along one part of the proposed route, in the case of a large-scale oil spill, "these impacts would typically be limited to within several hundred feet of the release source, and would not affect groundwater." There would be no greater danger than that posed by any of the more than 50,000 existing miles of safely operating pipeline already crisscrossing the U.S., including Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer.

As the Heritage Foundation notes, the earlier State Department approval "concluded that the pipeline posed minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, and creates few greenhouse-gas emissions. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by the State Department and the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)."

If Keystone is as safe as any of the other 50,000 miles of pipeline already in place, the nearly complete Dakota Access Pipeline is equally as safe. We need the oil, we need the jobs, we need the energy independence. We do not need to refight the Indian Wars.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

RECENT VIDEOS