Let the Drilling Begin
Having checkmated an Obama Executive Order, President Donald Trump cleared the board and set a new game in motion. Opening move, get rid of the pawns, you know, the little people.
Under Trump’s auspices and direction the Army Corps of Engineers reversed their earlier position and decreed that an environmental impact study is not necessary for the project to proceed. And so, drilling under Lake Oahe, which is situated within territorial boundaries of the Sioux Nation, has begun.
Energy Transfer Partners, the prime Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) contractor, has won. They can drill. Oil will flow. Bank accounts will rise. Stock holders will rejoice.
Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs
Oh, and the president continues to claim that the project will “create thousands of jobs,” which sounds like the beginning of a crude joke: How many workers does it take to watch oil flow through a pipe? Rather, the serious question that we hope never requires an answer is: How many workers does it take to clean up an oil spill?
Although DAPL opponents vow to continue the fight the project in court, as of this writing, the drilling has already begun. Thus, I am pessimistic that DAPL will be thwarted in any way.
For what they are worth, if you have not followed this matter closely, the questions and answers below will provide useful information as to why the fight against DAPL was waged. They come from a Popular Science article, “What Is the Dakota Access Pipeline? A Controversial Connector,” by Mary Beth Griggs.
Where is the pipeline located?
The DAPL … snakes 1,172 miles through parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.
Why is the pipeline being built?
The pipeline is intended to transport 470,000 to 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the rich oil fields of North Dakota to a storage facility in Patoka, Illinois….
The pipeline is being built as a way to transport the large amounts of oil extracted from the Bakken without using tanker trucks or trains … Whether transporting oil by train, truck, ship, or pipeline, all methods involve environmental risks in the event of a crash or leak.
Why don’t people want a pipeline nearby?
There are innumerable reasons that people aren’t interested in having a major pipeline nearby. The people most affected by the pipeline construction, and the majority of people on the front lines of the protest, are the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies. The tribe’s main sources of drinking water are located downstream of the current route of the pipeline, and the protesters fear that a spill on the pipeline could irrevocably contaminate their water supply.
Griggs explains, “It’s not an unfounded fear….”
In 2010, a spill from an oil pipeline into the Kalamazoo River spewed 840,000 gallons of crude oil into the environment, leading to years of cleanup and recovery at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. That incident was the worst inland oil spill in the United States, but far from the only pipeline-related oil spill. More than a million barrels of oil have leaked from pipelines in the last 20 years….
And it’s not just environmental safety concerns.
In Shelby County, Alabama late last year, a construction accident caused a fatal explosion at a gasoline pipeline, sparking wildfires near the drought-ravaged region. The explosion occurred just a few miles away from the site of a gasoline pipeline spill that occurred a few weeks before.
“Then there’s the cultural aspect,” she adds.
According to lawsuits filed on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the path of the pipeline crossed areas of cultural importance, including burial grounds and significant places of prayer. Some of those areas have reportedly already been destroyed in construction.
Is it really Us vs Them all the time? Is that our DNA? When did we devolve into a might makes us right society? Do all Americans share a common culture? Does it matter? And what is culture anyway?
Way back in the 19th century Thomas Carlyle wrote, “The great law of culture is: Let each become all that he was created capable of being.” To me, that requires us to accept and respect others as they are. Further, it requires us not to ignore, disrespect, or destroy another’s way of life, particularly in vain pursuit of our own self-proclaimed desires.
[I write about politics in this blog because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]