May 14, 2017

Who Knew? AP Finally Details Benefits of Dakota Access Pipeline

In an item likely targeted for mid-morning Saturday publication in the hope that few would notice it, the Associated Press’s James MacPherson covered “SIGNS OF (an) OIL BOOMLET IN NORTH DAKOTA AFTER PIPELINE FINISHED.” The “pipeline” in question is the Dakota Access Pipeline the hard-left so despises. Though it inexplicably took the AP reporter four paragraphs to identify the pipeline as the DAPL, the most remarkable aspect of the story was his specific identification of its vast economic benefits in the space of a mere three paragraphs.

Before he went there, MacPherson, in that fourth, DAPL-identifying paragraph, identified the reasons why oil production in western North Dakota is expected to substantially increase. In the process, he employed a term which almost never makes it into establishment press reporting, but which is crucial to an economy’s success (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Industry officials and others say the uptick comes from a bump in crude prices, regulatory certainty with the more drill-friendly Trump administration, better technology, and the prospect of nearly half of the state’s crude coursing through the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline, which could open markets abroad where top prices are typically fetched.

“Regulatory certainty” means that as long as the Trump administration is in power, the oil and gas industry — and most other industries, particularly those which employ blue-collar workers — can count on the fact that the bureaucrats in Washington won’t be spending every waking hour trying to come up with ways to strangle their productive efforts or prohibitively tax away their profits.

The press and the left (but I repeat myself) usually ignored but occasionally ridiculed the business community’s complaints and very real concerns about regulatory uncertainty during the entire Obama administration. Businesspersons, entrepreneurs and investors had no idea from day to day what that administration’s regulatory leviathan might unleash against all employers, individual industries, or even specific disfavored targeted companies.

As a result, business investment stagnated during the Obama years, contributing mightily to the worst post-recession recovery since World War II. Meanwhile, new business startups plunged to a 40-year low, and the startups which did appear minimized their exposure to the administration’s employment-related whims by hiring as few people as they possibly could.

As to the benefits of imminently opening DAPL, I don’t recall seeing any of what follows, let alone having it presented in such a succinct fashion, in any establishment press reporting during the violent, trash-riddled, environmentally destructive protests which began near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in April 2016 and ended in February.

The benefits to the economy in the western half of North Dakota and the overall U.S. economy are, well, huge:

The $3.8 billion pipeline – expected to be fully operating next month – opens up the possibility for North Dakota oil to be sold on the world market, where industry officials say it could earn several dollars more per barrel. Shippers also can save about $3 per barrel moving the oil by pipeline rather than using the mile-long trains that have carried North Dakota crude to the Gulf Coast since 2008, industry officials say.

“We can compete with the world,” said (North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron) Ness, whose group represents several hundred companies working in North Dakota’s oil patch.

At capacity, the Dakota Access pipeline will be able to transport half of the daily crude production from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Illinois. From there, the crude will be put into another pipeline to the Gulf Coast, where it can be used at refineries or loaded on tankers to overseas markets. Trains will still be used to take North Dakota crude to other places in the U.S.

Half of North Dakota’s current production is just over 500,000 barrels a day, so the $3 per barrel cost savings cited works out to about $550 million annually.

No AP report would be complete without some pathetic naysaying. In this case, though, it came in later instead of earlier paragraphs in the form of a pathetic attempt by an environmental group’s representative to gin up fear and rewrite history:

Industry critics hope North Dakota reacts differently than it did during the state’s boom that began in earnest a decade ago. Wayde Schafer, a North Dakota spokesman for the Sierra Club, points to problems that included increased crime and traffic, and a rash of oil and saltwater spills.

“There has to be some order and control,” Schafer said. “Oil companies were elbowing each other at the trough and it was a nightmare.”

What Schafer described is better known as “free-market capitalism.” No wonder he calls it a “nightmare.” Throughout their history to date, the alleged “rash of oil and saltwater spills” and pipeline leaks in North Dakota and elsewhere “has not resulted in any serious, lasting damage” to the environment.

While we’re on the subject of “nightmares,” though, let’s note that the Sierra Club and the rest of the “Keep It In the Ground” crowd supported the DAPL North Dakota protests. Now that they’re over, to my knowledge, none of these groups has spoken out against the ecological and environmental nightmare those protests and protesters created.

Additionally, since when does an environmentalist get to act like an expert on crime? The fact is that North Dakota’s violent crime rate declined by 9.4 percent in 2015, and that it significantly trailed what was seen in the rest of the West North Central region.

It is nice to see that someone at a national news outlet has identified DAPL’s benefits. But since the AP presented them on a Saturday morning while most of the print and broadcast press was still obsessing about Jim Comey, it’s up to readers here and anyone else who stumbles across the wire service’s story to make sure others know.

While communicating with others, here are a couple of other key points to emphasize with those who want to blather on about the potential defilement of sacred tribal lands:

Eight pipelines currently cross under Lake Oahe (near the Standing Rock reservation).

(The DAPL is) 95-115 feet underground, (using) a path similar to but much further underground than a pipeline that has been operating for almost 35 years.

Cross-posted at


1 Comment

  1. Tangential, can bias be programmed?

    From travel agents to translators, rising toll of jobs taken by robots… although nail technicians, security officers and kitchen staff are in greater demand

    Even creative industries which were previously thought to be ‘robot proof’ are not immune, with illustrators, animators and writers also in decline. Google is among those to have designed automated translation software, which is making human translators increasingly redundant. Automated writers are already being used, with the Associated Press using software to write some company financial reports and Yahoo using similar technology to create fantasy sports reports.

    Can Max Headroom be far behind? Welcome change or finally acknowledged point of view?

    Comment by dscott — May 15, 2017 @ 7:40 am

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