North Dakota is ablaze as a result of protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the protests have escalated quickly into violence and multiple arrests. How did this happen and who is behind it?
Here are 8 things you need to know about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
1. It started with the construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to CNN, the pipeline would deliver an estimated 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota through Illinois, South Dakota and Iowa. The project is expected to cost $3.7 billion in total.
Meanwhile, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is fighting back, stating, “From improved access to domestic fuel to a $5 billion economic infusion in the form of jobs, tax payments and reimbursements for landowners, communities stand to gain much from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline … For the highly skilled and trained men and women of LIUNA, projects like the Dakota Access are more than just pipelines. They are crucial lifelines to family-supporting jobs.”
Laborers Local 563 Business Agent Cory Bryson said, “We’ve been inundated with calls from all over the country from people wanting to work on this pipeline project. Mainline pipeline projects like Dakota Access provide excellent working opportunities for our members and tremendous wages. The Laborers excel at this work.”
Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, says between 8,000 and 12,000 construction jobs and $156 million in tax revenue will result from the pipeline’s construction.
Additionally, the pipeline would allow the country to be more independent on oil and does not affect the water supply. As Brian McNicoll writes in a Daily Caller column, "It took approval from environmental bureaucracies in four states. It took negotiating with local and federal officials, working painstakingly with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior to identify the safest, most environmentally friendly route available."
Common sense would dictate then that the pipeline is perfectly safe. But common sense is lost among the environmentalist left.
3. The environmentalist left seems to think that the pipeline will somehow poison and ruin sacred Native American land. There has been a myth that the pipeline's construction would result in the destruction of "burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts" belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, CNN reports, but there is no evidence that this would happen, according to McNicoll:
It’s nowhere near any sacred tribal lands, and the useful idiots at the front of the Native American groups leading the protest know this. It’s not on their property– or really even all that close to it. It doesn’t threaten their water supply – the pipeline has to cross the Missouri River somewhere, and it makes that crossing safely by passing more than 90 feet underneath. Unless the technology fails in this case and gravity is defeated for 90 full feet, there is no threat here to the river, and everyone knows it.
In fact, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has refused to meet with Energy Transfer Partner, the pipeline developer, numerous times.
But all that is ignored by environmentalists, like actors Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCapiro, who are protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. There have been camps of protestors established by "[George] Soros-funded anti-energy, anti-environment, anti-jobs activists journeying from the coasts to do their virtue signaling and get arrested or at least charged if possible," according to McNicoll.
4. The protests have escalated into violence. The protestors, encamped on private land where the pipeline is supposed to be constructed, have blocked off bridges and roads and have even secured themselves onto concrete and vehicles. The protestors proceeded to do the following:
- Ignited fires, including causing $2 million in damage.
- Hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers.
- A protestor fired a gun three times at officers (thankfully, no one was struck).
- A separate gun was fired, injuring someone in the hand.
And Ruffalo had the gall to tell CNN that he had "never been around so peaceful a stand."
Eventually, the police forces from six states had to intervene.
5. The police have arrested 141 protestors. NBC News reports that on Thursday:
More than 200 police officers responded to the demonstrations, many using pepper spray and firing bean bags on protesters. They used a long-range acoustic device with a high-pitched tone to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, Humvees and buses roamed the scene as two helicopters and an airplane scanned the operation from the air.
There were over 260 people arrested before Thursday, and there are still 200 protestors at the site. Most of the people arrested appear to be out-of-state protestors, likely bussed in by leftist activist groups.
6. The violence has been tamed for the time being. The Seattle Times reports that a sage of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe named Miles Allard, brokered a ceasefire of sorts between the two sides on Friday.
"I’m an elder, simple as that," Allard said. "They [the protestors] either listen to me or they shouldn’t be here."
Allard said that the tribe still opposes the pipeline.
A bridge that was blockaded on Highway 1806 is undergoing a safety review and the road is in the process of being re-opened for traffic.
7. The Department of Justice wouldn't let federal officials get involved in stamping out the violent protests. The Daily Caller reported that Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriff's Association, claimed that Attorney General Loretta Lynch would not meet with the association and that the "DOJ refused to deploy federal resources" to aid Morton County -- the area in which the protests too place -- in getting the violent protests under control.
Hot Air's Jazz Shaw suggests that the reason was political, as the protestors "are very big with the Democratic base and there’s an election coming up." While the police forces were able to make 141 arrests, the fact the DOJ left "the sheriffs and state police high and dry" is troubling.
8. There is a warrant out for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein to be arrested. The Daily Wire reported that Stein is wanted for spray-painting graffiti onto construction equipment.
What is it about leftist protests that spawns law-breaking and violence? The reality is that breaking the law and violence is, and always has been, the default tactic of radicals.