Last week, in his last hours as North Dakota governor, Jack Dalrymple provided several newspapers with an op-ed defending his handling of the Dakota Access pipeline protests.
In the 1,135-word screed, he blames everyone but himself for the controversy, namely:
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which recently put a stop to the project
- Social media
- Traditional media
- Professional agitators
Here are a few excerpts from the piece:
“Many around the world have used limited information shared through traditional and social media to form opinions about the pipeline and North Dakota as a whole. Much of this information is neither accurate nor fair.”
Translation: Don’t believe anything you read; believe me instead!
“The pipeline’s permitted route never crosses tribal land.”
Yeah, it only crosses 1/2 north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which opposes the project.
“Not one person from the tribe attended any of the meetings and hearings publicly noticed by state regulators over the course of two years.”
Tribal officials went on record opposing the pipeline in September 2014.
“This particular pipe is state-of-the-art when it comes to safety.”
Whether or not that’s true, the state lacks credibility. Regulations have not prevented massive oil spills. This month, a pipeline in western North Dakota spilled 130,000 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Missouri River. Last year, another pipeline leaked 3 million gallons — the biggest spill in state history — of contaminated water near Williston. This same company recently asked state regulators for permission to connect to Dakota Access.
Last week, the Associated Press reported that the 840,000 gallons of oil that spilled from a pipeline near Tioga still isn’t cleaned up. Back to Dalrymple:
“To date, the 1,172-mile pipeline is virtually complete.”
True. The pipeline company started construction before receiving a necessary easement from the federal government to cross Lake Oahe next to the reservation. The easement was recently denied.
“Now that winter, including several feet of snow and subfreezing temperatures, has settled into our state, law enforcement and several neighboring communities have gone above and beyond to help rescue and shelter people who came unprepared.”
Last month, as the temperature dropped into the 20s, law enforcement sprayed protesters with water.
“We are proud of the restraint and the professionalism of our law enforcement officers. Attacks on their conduct have been totally inaccurate, and I hope time will help reveal the facts surrounding this ongoing situation and that reason will prevail.”
In response to the backlash to spraying protesters with water in subfreezing weather, the spokesman for the North Dakota Highway Patrol had this to say: “I don’t see what the big deal is.”