The New York Times Repeats Debunked Dakota Access Myths

In recent editorials, the Washington Post and the New York Times addressed the Dakota Access pipeline and the ongoing protest. While The Post highlighted two important the facts regarding the pipeline, the Times focused on 3 disproven myths.

Two facts about the Dakota Access pipeline as noted by the editorial board of the Washington Post:

Not on reservation land: “Federal courts and the Obama administration are in the process of sorting that out, though the fact that the pipeline would not be built on reservation land and follows the route of an existing gas line undercuts their case.”

The Post is correct. The Dakota Access pipeline would not be built on reservation land and it follows the Northern Border pipeline that was built over thirty years ago.

Pipeline safety: “In and around North Dakota, that has meant sucking it from underground shale formations and transporting it out of the area by truck and train. Pipeline transport would make it safer.”

Correct again, pipelines are the safest method of transporting crude oil.

In stark contrast, the New York Times’ editorial is littered with inaccuracies and false narratives. For example:

There was no “re-route”: “The tribe’s sense of grievance is understandable, given that the pipeline was shifted in its direction, away from Bismarck, N.D., because federal regulators saw it as a potential threat to that city’s water supply.”

The preferred, and current, route of Dakota Access was chosen more than two years ago. As Standing Rock Fact Checker has previously noted, the current route has many more advantages to the Bismarck alternative.  The Bismarck route would have crossed 27 more waterways, more agriculture land and would have been significantly is longer.


There are no outstanding permits: “But the tribe has continued to press the Army corps to withhold permits, which the builders need because the pipeline would cross a navigable waterway.” 

The project has permitted over 6,000,000 feet of pipe, only 1,000 remain of easement remains. All other permits and approvals have been granted.

There was a two-year consultation process already: “Maybe that will prompt a full, meaningful discussion of the pipeline’s merits, with a fairer assessment of its true costs.

This is yet another attempt to ignore the two-year review process that featured nearly 400 consultations, and handful of which the tribe refused to engage in.

The status quo is an environmental risk: “A pipeline may well be the most profitable and efficient way to move a half-million barrels of crude oil a day across the Plains. But in a time of oil gluts and plummeting oil prices, is it worth it? Is it worth the degradation of the environment, the danger to the water, the insult to the heritage of the Sioux?”

There already is a danger to the environment, water, and heritage of the Sioux and it’s not Dakota Access. A crude rail already cuts through the reservation and over the Missouri River, coming within 2 miles of a new water intake plant. Crude rail puts more carbon into the air and have a worse track record with accidents.