Anybody tired of winning yet? (Part 367)

When we last checked in with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps, the Native American tribes had asked the imported protesters to pack up and leave, preferring to fight the remaining battles in court. There were a few holdouts who wound up being arrested (and a few puppies rescued) but for the most part the area was cleaned out. Now the aforementioned court maneuvers seem to have come to an end. A federal judge had been considering the Standing Rock tribe’s request since a hearing on February 28 and today determined that the project could move forward. (AP News)

A federal judge has declined to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg’s decision came Tuesday, a week after he held a Feb. 28 hearing to consider the matter. It means the pipeline could be operating this month.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux asked Boasberg to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois.

The remaining section needing to be installed is relatively small. That means that the pipeline could actually be in operation by the end of this month after years of delay and legal wrangling. So did we actually learn anything from all of this unpleasantness?

The answer would seem to be an unequivocal yes. This work could have been completed ages ago and there had previously been court decisions which had gone in the favor of the developer. In the end, there was only one thing gumming up the gears and that was the federal government under Barack Obama. The way that this dispute was manipulated by the White House, playing to the Democrat’s liberal base by creating a media circus atmosphere was shameful. All it really took was a change of management, a few cabinet level orders to be issued and a willingness to promote job growth and domestic energy production and we were off to the races.

The exact same thing can be said for the Keystone Pipeline and too many other ongoing projects to name. There is work out there to be had, jobs to be filled and domestic productivity waiting to be unlocked. In cases such as these, what we really need from the federal government is for it to simply get out of the way and allow the free market system to operate. That doesn’t mean that we have to throw out any and all considerations of safety and environmental protection. These pipelines are being constructed with the most modern materials and technology available and they have a remarkable safety record.

Sometimes the government that governs least governs best. (I’m sure some smart person said that a long time ago.) Perhaps we can take a lesson from this episode and actually get this country back to work now.