Seeing the Round Corners


October 10, 2016


Protests to stop construction on the Bakken Pipeline continues long after pipeline company officials expected – now we are into the month of October.  In what was expected to go away rather quickly, the protest has now gained the national spotlight, depending on what part of the country you are getting your news.

As reported on Oil Price.Com in September, President Obama "shocked the oil industry last week by 'pulling the plug' on a major oil pipeline from the

Bakken oil fields." The 1,168-mile oil pipeline with an estimated $3.8 billion constriction cost "became a flash point between the pipeline company (Dakota Access) and a growing coalition of Native American tribes and environmentalists," who say the pipeline route will threaten sacred lands and drinking water resources for the tribe, runs from North Dakota to Iowa and Illinois.

Shortly after a federal judge's ruling on September 9, 2016 against the Standing Rock Sioux's request to block construction (exactly one hour after), President Obama stepped in. Three agencies – the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior  – asked Dakota Access to "voluntarily pause" construction even though the judge's ruling was in the company's favor.

In part, the letter stated ". . . important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain." [Readers will recall from earlier columns, not all permits had been issued by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, despite the large portions already constructed.]

The news release continued:  "The agencies wrote that they will need time to determine whether or not they have to review the permitting decisions again due to the issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe."

"Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time." 

This has to be a first and emphasizes concern and efforts shown throughout the Obama Administration on American Indian matters, " . . . not only would it not allow the pipeline to move forward, at least temporarily," but it also said, The  conflict highlighted the potential need for nationwide reform on how infrastructure is sited on Native lands."

Also included in that same news release was a statement to the Associated Press by former U.S. Attorney and expert on Indian law, Troy Eid, "The Dakota Access Pipeline is a textbook example of how not to do a project . . . the lack of consultation with the tribe blew up in the pipeline company's face."

Much more as this saga unfolds.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at