Yet another public figure has opined on the Dakota Access pipeline without using the facts. Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, issued her support for the Standing Rock Sioux while making a handful of inaccurate claims in a recent Medium post.
The following represents just a handful of her inaccuracies:
“The pipeline clearly never underwent an appropriate review in consultation with nearby residents and the tribal leaders.”
It is beyond comprehension how this claim is still made by Dakota Access opponents.
Fact: Dakota Access and US Army Corps of Engineers officials met with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other Native groups nearly 400 times, some of which the tribe chose not to attend on their own accord.
Fact: The US Army Corps of Engineers, even in its decision to not issue the easement, adamantly confirmed that their review was comprehensive and appropriate.
“It has the potential to cause devastating, longterm environmental damage, not least of all to Lake Oahe.”
Fact: The Dakota Access Pipeline will be the one of the most advanced energy infrastructure projects in the country. Moreover, the existing crude rail traffic represents a much larger threat to the Missouri River. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reports that the 1.15 million gallons of crude oil spilled in 2013 by railcar operations exceeded the total amount spilled since the government agency began keeping count more than four decades ago. In May 2015, an oil tanker train derailed near Heimdal, North Dakota spilling 94,000 gallons and resulting several large explosions.
Fact: The US Army Corps of Engineers, over their two year review and permitting process, found that the materials and methods used by Dakota Access LLC will pose a minimal risk to the Missouri River.
“The construction would cut through ancestral burial grounds.”
Fact: Seven archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the Chief Archaeologist for the state found no burial or culturally significant sites in the Dakota Access Pipeline construction corridor to date. This analysis, aligns with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ two-year review process conclusion: the project did not infringe on areas of cultural sensitivity. In North Dakota alone, the project was altered 140 times to avoid potential areas where concerns were raised. Following allegations that cultural sites were destroyed, officials facilitated a site visit to allow state and federal government officials, representatives of the SRST and other tribes, and state archaeologists to view these cultural sites. The site visit confirmed that these cultural sites had not been disturbed.
“The harsh treatment of peaceful protesters…caused unnecessary pain and suffering while violating free speech and First Amendment rights of our fellow Americans.”
Fact: Professional agitators have set fires, slaughtered livestock, fired at gun at law enforcement officers, burned a bridge, terrorized journalists, threw explosives at law enforcement, and repeatedly trespassed on private property. These protests were not peacefully in any definition of the word.
“Democrats believe that we must respect the property rights of Native and rural landowners.”
Fact: Dakota Access LLC worked with landowners, community members and leaders, elected officials, other stakeholders, and regulators to chart a route that was considerate of all concerns. Following an extensive review the project received its permits in all four states—North Dakota is no exception. Project officials held 559 meetings with community leaders, businesses, agricultural and civic organizations, and local elected officials, as well as hundreds of meetings with local, state and federal regulatory and permitting agencies spanning a 2 ½ year period leading up to the fully permitted and authorized pipeline. Moreover, the frequent trespassing by protestors is a daily disregard for property rights of landowners.
“The case raises serious questions about how Trump may use the power of the presidency to further his business interests.”
Fact: President-elect Trump removed all financial connection to the project over the summer. President-elect Trump’s only connection now is whether or not he chooses to deescalate the situation by enforcing the rule of law, something his predecessor chose not to.