Diary

The Dakota Access Pipeline Must Be Built

By Bette Grande

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) crosses the Missouri River near the water plant serving Williston, North Dakota, my hometown. However, you would never know that based on the national media coverage of the DAPL protests. It is just one of the inconvenient facts that are so easily ignored by the Alt-Left.

There were no protests when DAPL was buried under the Missouri River near Williston. Neil Young did not show up to protect the citizens of Williston. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t bother to leave his yacht. There are 1,079 existing crude-oil-pipeline river crossings in North Dakota and more than 38,000 in the United States. Why did Neil and Leonardo and thousands of hired protestors get so worked up about a single water crossing in south-central North Dakota? Why wasn’t there any outrage in Williston and countless other towns?

We in North Dakota know what the DAPL protests were really about and it’s not water quality or sacred or historic sites. The protests were all about politics, intimidation, and bullying.

The Alt-Left successfully shut down DAPL, a project that had been fully vetted, had passed every regulatory requirement, and is 99 percent complete. If it’s not completed, the project’s private investors will lose billions of dollars. That result would have a chilling effect on private investment in future traditional energy projects.

The Obama administration has attacked traditional U.S. energy industries for eight years through a number of policies: The Keystone XL Pipeline, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Bureau of Land Management’s rules on hydraulic fracturing and venting of natural gas, among many others. The Obama administration’s accomplishments are impressive. They have been successful in stifling the development of traditional energy and increasing the cost of heat and electricity to consumers, especially burdening the poor and elderly.

The 2016 elections, at the federal, state, and local levels, will bring real progress for thousands of communities across the country, especially compared to the “hope and change” of the past eight years. Voters pushed back against the Alt-Left’s radical agenda.

President-elect Donald Trump has expressed support for DAPL and a desire to pull back federal regulations that are choking the economy. Based on his cabinet choices, it’s clear a new wind is blowing, wind that just might clear the stagnant cloud perpetually hovering over Washington, DC.

But do not expect protests like those that happened in North Dakota to go away; this is just a trial run for a new, post-Obama strategy. The Alt-Left took a big hit on Election Day, and these protests are all they have left. Our work was not done on November 8, 2016.

Bette Grande ([email protected]) represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.