The anti-Keystone activists insisted that killing that pipeline was singularly important for the future of the world, because of the supposedly uniquely dirty Canadian oil sands. Ultimately they succeeded, with Secretary of State John Kerry spiking the project (despite the State Department’s own conclusion it would have no adverse environmental impact) based on the false “perception” among the public of “dirty oil.”
Score one for the dishonest environmentalist smear merchants, who have now exposed their hypocrisy by moving on to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project not from Canada but from North Dakota, and that would compete with the supposedly uniquely evil Canadian stuff.
This 1,172 mile pipeline will bring American energy from the Bakken region of North Dakota to market and represents a $3 billion investment of private capital. The design, construction, and operation will meet the highest standards with modern control technologies. The river crossings are deep underground.
Yet the activist groups again go to any extreme necessary to stop the project – with ongoing protests at the construction site that have grown violent and resulted in dozens of arrests.
Their real agenda is anti-oil, period. Even if the consequences of blocking pipeline infrastructure means more rail and truck shipments with more accidents and higher prices for consumers.
How far are the anti-energy activists willing to go? Apparently they’ll go all the way to the United Nations, which has stepped in to interfere with the project.
Alvaro Pop Ac, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, issued a statement claiming: “The project was proposed and planned without any consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux or others that will be affected by this major project.”
The United Nations statement was issued in response to green groups bringing their anti-pipeline protest crowds out in Washington, DC. One of those groups, Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers using the Standing Rock Sioux as plaintiffs. Like the United Nations, the lawsuit alleges a lack of consultation.
Really? The response brief from the Army Corps shows how remarkably frivolous the claim is.
“This consultation process included meetings between the Corps and Plaintiff on November 6, 2014, January 22, 2016; January 25, 2016; February 26, 2016; March 3, 2016; March 7, 2016; March 22, 2016; April 29, 2016, May 14, 2016.”
The Standing Rock Sioux also “initially scheduled, and then withdrew from, a site visit of the proposed Lake Oahe crossing on September 28, 2015.”
The Army Corps also attached a detailed spreadsheet showing 389 consultations with 55 indigenous nationals and tribes, including the nine with the Standing Rock Sioux.
To the United Nations, apparently, that constitutes “without any consultation.”
The anti-energy activists have settled on this surreal strategy of wishing away hundreds of consultations because they have no meaningful substantive objections to a project that has been exhaustively vetted and is environmentally and economically sound.
They bussed in the protest crowds and ginned up the usual PR machine and called in the United Nations to try to either bully a judge to issue an injunction or, more likely, create enough of a political headache for the Obama administration to stall the pipeline, which had already begun construction, into the next administration.
If they succeed, then the Keystone precedent will be extended: if you can make enough political noise to create your desired “perception,” you can stop a major infrastructure project – regardless of the facts.
Phil Kerpen is head of American Commitment and a leading free-market policy analyst and advocate in Washington. Kerpen was the principal policy and legislative strategist at Americans for Prosperity for over five years. He previously worked at the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute. Kerpen is also a nationally syndicated columnist, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book "Democracy Denied."