Finished celebrating the defeat of the XL Pipeline yet?

Posted: 08/17/2016 in Screwed
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Of course those of you with a more jaded outlook know that sooner or later, the XL folks will get their way (and their pipeline).  Money always wins in American politics.  As if to prove that point, another pipeline, almost as long and disaster prone as the XL, has been quietly approved by your government.  Called the Dakota Access Pipeline Project (DAPL) (also known as the Bakken Pipeline), it is ready to lay 1,172 miles of 30-inch diameter pipe from North Dakota down to Patoka, Illinois, where it will join other pipelines going to refineries and markets in the Gulf and East Coast.  Of course this direct line to the shipping centers is being touted as a solution to our own energy dependence, even though the oil will never be sold in our country. 

Like the XL project, Bakken has also promised tons of jobs for everyone.  And also like the XL project, those promises are lies.

According to Dakota Access’s DAPL fact sheet, the pipeline will create 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs. An earlier draft of those figures claimed 7,263 “job-years” to be created in Iowa alone. Not so fast, says professor David Swenson, associate scientist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. Swenson crunched the numbers himself, and came to a much more modest conclusion: 1,500 jobs total per year in Iowa for the course of construction. And given that most of these jobs are skilled, Swenson expects many of these hires will be from out-of-state, as Iowan contractors specializing in large-scale underground pipe-fitting and welding are scarce. The long-term forecast for job creation is even bleaker. The Des Moines Register reports that there will only be 12-15 permanent employees once the pipeline is completed. (DAPL has since walked back its job estimate slightly).

Even though the pipeline has already received official approval, some people are still trying to tie it up in court.

The pipeline will cross through sacred lands and pass under the Missouri River twice. For the Standing Rock Sioux, the Missouri provides drinking water and irrigation, while its riverbanks grow innumerable plants of cultural import, including sage and buffalo berries. The tribe launched a campaign called “Rezpect Our Water” and staged a 500-mile relay race in protest, hoping to sway the Army Corps of Engineers in the permitting process. Last weekend, a group of 30 Native youth completed a three-week run from North Dakota to Washington, DC, where they delivered a petition of 160,000 signatures opposing the pipeline’s construction.

Now, even though the Corps has given the go-ahead, the tribe has not given up the fight. They recently filed suit against the Corps in federal court. The suit seeks an injunction, asserting that the pipeline will “damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance,” a violation of the National Historic Preservation Act.

But, in the long run, we all know that money talks, and the lives of people don’t matter when there’s a profit to be made.  But that shouldn’t mean we just give up and roll over.  Remember, it’s the profits that matter.  If we can force these companies to dig deep and pay for their “accidents”, it might just become too expensive to be worth the bother.


Be seeing you.

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