Society

Judge Should Not Halt DAPL Oil Flow

| by Mark Jones

A judge has refused a request to halt the oil flow of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Despite opinions to the contrary, he made the right decision in choosing to let the oil flow. 

On March 7, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg made a well-advised decision to deny the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Tribes' request to halt construction on the final piece of the Dakota Access Pipeline, reports The Associated Press. A week later, on March 15, Boasberg also denied the tribes' request to stop the commencement of oil flow through the pipe.

According to The Huffington Post, the construction of the pipeline has been an extremely controversial topic since it was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers in July of 2016, especially among the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its supporters from other tribes. The Tribe's argument against the pipeline stems from their belief that it will contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, reports the BBC.

In addition, the government was required by U.S. law to consult with the tribe before beginning construction on the pipeline, which the tribe claims did not occur, reports the BBC. If this is true, it was a grave oversight, and the U.S. government should work with the tribe to ensure such an oversight does not occur in the future. 

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However, construction of the pipeline has thus far occurred outside of the Standing Rock Reservation, meaning that the tribe's land claims have not been violated. And now that the pipeline has been completed -- and in light of its many benefits -- it does not make sense to stop the oil flow.

One way in which the Dakota Access Pipeline will be beneficial is by bolstering the local economy. According to a post written for The Hill by Bradley A. Blakeman, a public policy professor at Georgetown University, the pipeline would insert $50 million dollars in property taxes and $74 million dollars in sales taxes into not only North Dakota's economy, but also the economies of South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. This money could be used by those state's governments to improve state-funded services for their citizens. 

In addition -- and contrary to the beliefs of many individuals -- the use of the pipeline will, in fact, make the transportation of oil safer and make the possibility of contamination less likely. According to the Manhattan Institute, a review by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that there is a smaller chance of oil spilling when it is transported by pipeline than by other land-based methods.

With all this in mind, it is apparent that the Dakota Access Pipeline is not as bad as it has been made out to be, and in fact has the potential to be beneficial in several ways. Boasberg was right in allowing the project to continue, and oil flow should be allowed to begin on schedule.

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Sources: AP, The Huffington Post, BBC, The Hill, Manhattan Institute / Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr

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