Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline became an international news story last year. Progressives around the country rallied to the cause and held marches around the country. Over a million dollars was raised on social media to support the main protest camp and thousand of people traveled to remote Cannonball, North Dakota to become part of the effort to block the final mile of the nearly 1,200-mile long pipeline.
Protesters battled police on land and in the water and over several months hundreds, mostly from out of state, were arrested. One woman faces 10 years in jail for (allegedly) firing a gun toward police officers.
The Obama administration came to the protesters’ rescue when Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy overruled the Army Corps of Engineers recommendation that the pipeline be approved. Instead, she announced a new environmental study which would have taken up to two years to complete. The new study was officially announced just a couple days before President-elect Trump took office.
These transparently political moves were cheered by progressives, but not for long. On February 7th the Trump administration ended the new study and approved construction of the final stretch of pipeline. A few weeks later the main protest camp was cleared out by police. It cost over a million dollars to clean up the mess protesters left behind and prevent it from washing into the river they were supposedly there to protect. Dogs and puppies left behind at the frozen camp were also rescued.
A court challenge brought by the Native American tribes failed a few weeks later. Not all of the anti-pipeline protesters were content to go along with the rule of law. There were acts of sabotage in a few locations and some arson as well. Meanwhile, the pipeline was completed and being filled with oil.
Thursday, despite all the time, money and media savvy the left could throw at it, the Dakota Access Pipeline began making oil deliveries to customers. From the Associated Press:
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners announced that the 1,200-mile line carrying North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution point in Illinois had begun commercial service. The Dakota Access pipeline and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline from Illinois to the Gulf Coast together make up the $4.8 billion Bakken Pipeline system, which ETP said has commitments for about 520,000 barrels of oil daily.
“The pipeline will transport light, sweet crude oil from North Dakota to major refining markets in a more direct, cost-effective, safer and more environmentally responsible manner than other modes of transportation, including rail or truck,” the company said in a statement.
That’s what I call progress.