INFORUM and Jamestown Sun recently published a letter to editor from Arik Spencer, president and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber, regarding the significant negative impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown order. The letter explains that if DAPL is shuttered, North Dakotans will unnecessarily face new challenges:
The oil and gas sector contributes significantly to the state’s GDP with tax revenues and royalties as well as jobs and livelihoods for citizens. A loss in production would not only harm companies and individuals but ripple impacts into the service industries who support and benefit from the presence of oil in the state. Right now, given the current condition of our economy and the nation’s, we don’t want anyone put in positions to fail where they may have otherwise survived.
Spencer explains that this ruling impacts more than just the state’s oil industry, as it sends a concerning message to the business community. He also underscores that the Corps and state regulators conducted a thorough review of the project before allowing construction to proceed – an inconvenient fact Judge Boasberg seems to have disregarded:
Our concern goes beyond the fact that approximately 40% of North Dakota’s crude oil is transported by DAPL safely to marketplace or the shift to other transportation modes could potentially strain existing infrastructure or cause competition for resources. GNDC is concerned about the message this decision sends to the business community. There will be economic impacts to our state but letting this decision stand sets a tone for energy infrastructure development and any federally regulated development. This trend could impede entities investing in major transportation projects including road, rail, and air. Currently, developers require regulatory certainty. There is an understanding that they can operate in the free market system if they follow the rules and permitting process, which DAPL has. The Army Corps met or exceeded all guidelines previously when conducting its review of the environmental assessment and pipeline permitting – including the inclusion and consultation with tribal groups. Before the construction was even allowed to progress, our state also conducted a review, lasting over a year.
In conclusion, Spencer points out that Judge Boasberg even acknowledged the disruption that a DAPL closure would impose. It is critical that this decision be overturned in the appeal process and DAPL is able to continue operating while the Corps conducts additional environmental review.