September 14 2016
Even though Democrats routinely issue clarion calls to spend billions upon billions on infrastructure, their actions, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial, show that this is just political blah blah and that they are not really serious about infrastructure.
The Obama administration has issued an order halting a segment of the North Dakota pipeline, even though the pipeline had a court decision allowing it to continue and plenty of research indicating minimal environmental impact. Shades of the Keystone Pipeline XL, which the administration publicly dithered on, all the while likely planning to kill the pipeline when it was politically expedient.
The editorial points out:
The Dakota Access would be a boon for the northern Plains, which has suffered more from the rout in oil prices than other regions with better access to markets. The pipeline would make Bakken crude more economical by reducing the shipping cost and supply glut at the source. It was on course to be finished by the end of this year.
But green groups have locked arms with some Native American tribes to block pipeline work around Lake Oahe—a water source for the Standing Rock Sioux—that was permitted this summer by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nearly half of the clearing and grading for the pipeline is complete including 90% in North Dakota. As Judge Boasberg noted, the pipeline “needs almost no federal permitting of any kind because 99% of its route traverses private land.”
. . .
The company Dakota Access went above and beyond the law’s requirements to mitigate its environmental impact. This meant devising the route to avoid sites on the National Register of Historic Places as well as those identified as potentially eligible for listing. Archaeologists conducted cultural surveys including visual reconnaissance and “shove-test probes” to examine historic sites. The pipeline was modified 140 times in North Dakota alone to avoid potential cultural resources.
The Corps of Engineers attempted to consult with the Sioux without success. The Sioux sued the Corps, claiming it violated has violated the National Historic Preservation Act. When the court ruled against the Sioux, the Justice, Army and Interior Departments enjoined further construction. But the environmentalists weren't satisfied:
The only “infrastructure” Democrats seem to want is when government pays for it and which doesn’t violate their tribal antipathy to fossil fuels.
Next time you hear Democrats calling for infrastructure spending, remember: they like spending, but infrastructure? Not so much.