Across the Isle: The Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline protest on Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2017. Photo via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In case you missed it, Across the Aisle is the series of
articles where we take a look at two opposing political views on some of the more controversial topics in the world today.
Wwe have Theodore Stabile representing the right,
and Alexander Pecha
representing the left.
Keep in mind that neither author claims to speak for the entirety of the left or the right; all opinions are their own.
This week Across the Aisle will be discussing DAPL, or the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Alexander Pecha: The Left

DAPL is the perfect example of a thing that doesn’t need to exist. Defenders of the pipeline will talk about how much oil it can pump, how it decreases our reliance on foreign oil and how many jobs it will create.

While the first and second aspects of the Pipeline are real, it should be noted that all of the jobs this pipeline would create are temporary jobs, not ones that will benefit local economies in the long run.

Beyond that, to me it seems like we’re going in the wrong direction. Oil is dying; this is just a fact, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on.

Fracking and other forms of alternative oil are only delaying the inevitable, not creating any form of long-term solution.

We need to be investing in and preparing alternative energy sources to ensure our future economic and environmental prosperity, not sinking every last dime into oil because “that’s what we know.”

Then there’s Native American rights. There’s been a lot of “he said, she said” going on here, but it should be noted that if that pipeline, breaks the water source for the local tribe, would be contaminated.

Now this wouldn’t be direct, but a break is down the river from the tribe and using the same water source.

Defenders will point out that the pipeline doesn’t technically go through tribal land, though they seem to be missing the point. The area used to be tribal land, and they hold it sacred. To hold to the argument of, “well, it’s not technically theirs,” is a very imperialistic argument that I would have thought we would have matured beyond.

So from my perspective it seems that DAPL is a pipeline furthering a trade and system that doesn’t need furthering, and is hurting people who shouldn’t be hurt any more.

It should be shut down; maybe the companies can take some of that money and do something besides buy senators and representatives for once.

Theodore Stabile: The Right

I personally am for the DAPL, for two unorthodox but personal reasons. Firstly, the pipeline, while drops in the oil bucket, will help divert our dependence on oil from overseas, especially from Saudi Arabia.

Secondly, the amount of perpetuated and debunked misinformation that revolved around the pipeline despite its sound planning drove me to support its construction.

The main arguments against the pipeline were that it was running through sacred American Indian land and a major detriment to the local environment.

However, the project was at first shelved back in 2014 by the Obama administration in order to fully calculate and minimize the impact on the environment.

Uncannily, the company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, chose the area near the Standign Rock reservation as the best land to have the least environmental impact.

Between 2014 and 2016 there were 15 attempts by the North Dakota Commissioner to communicate with the Standing Rock tribe, but all attempts were met with great resistance or wholly unanswered.

Conversely, 55 other American Indian tribes were met 389 times by the US Army Corp of Engineers to discuss the project. Despite this, the area determined for the pipeline was surveyed (before approval) and inspected by specialists on foot who identified 500 cultural resources.

The surveys also filtered 91 stone sites from potential route sites. This in turn led to 140 revisions of the pipeline’s route, the final planned route OK’d by the U.S Army Corp of Engineers, ensuring both the protection of the sacred land and its several critical resources.

A very interesting revelation came from these surveys and also from court reviews involving the DAPL. There are already eight other pipelines operating in the same ground, under the nearby Lake Oahe by Standing Rock, some running parallel to the planned pipeline route, but none caused notable disturbance to the land or spurred any complaint from the Standing Rock tribe.

The DAPL will be utilizing a “less invasive” HDD method to install the pipeline, designed to cause less land and resource disturbance than its uncovered predecessor. Another detail is that its final route will not only stay away from the reservation, but private property owners in North Dakota (and presumably for affected property owners in the three other relevant states) signed contracts permitting the pipeline’s creation through their property.

While the reservation is nearby but untouched, further safety insurance comes from the nature of the pipeline itself. Compared to other forms of crude oil transport, pipelines, while not infallible, are vastly less prone to accidents and better equipped to contain leaks and spills from spreading far, let alone close enough to contaminate water supplies.

With the amount of planning and precautions made with the pipeline to avoid the reservation and resources, and the amount of unjustified protest and obstruction to its development, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about Trump’s executive order to revive a nothing if not sound and beneficial project.

1 Comment on "Across the Isle: The Dakota Access Pipeline"

  1. Paul R. Jones | March 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Reply

    Here is a simple question for Theodore Stabile representing the right,
    and Alexander Pecha representing the left…the question is so simple, it is hard…Notwithstanding the difficulty in answering the question by either or both, if they cannot answer, what good is their commentary on the topic”
    “Where is the proclamation ratified by 1/3rd of the voters of the United States to amend the United States Constitution to make the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” (Sioux in this instance) distinguishable from all other non-Indian U.S./State citizens?”

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