GAIN Celebrates Six-year Anniversary of DAPL’s Initial Approval by the Army Corps

Today, July 25th, marks the six-year anniversary of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the permits necessary to finish construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project in areas under federal jurisdiction. The USACE decision to allow DAPL to be built far below the riverbed of the Missouri River followed a comprehensive and exhaustive environmental review, which concluded that the project would have No Significant Impact based on an Environmental Assessment (EA).

Colonel John Henderson, the Omaha district commander, wrote in 2016, “I have evaluated the anticipated environmental, economic, cultural, and social effects, and any cumulative effects” of the river crossing and found it is “not injurious to the public interest.” The 1,261-page report announcing the initial approval said of the public review process at the time that, “no significant comments remain unresolved.”

Since project completion in 2017, DAPL has been safely transporting American-sourced energy from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, moving some 570,000 barrels of oil a day. Every day that oil is carried through the pipeline, the equivalent of 3,000 tanker trucks are removed from the road. 

The following statement can be attributed to Colonel (ret.) Tom Magness, former ­Commander with the US Army Corps of Engineers, and strategic advisor for Grow American Infrastructure Now (GAIN):

“As a former commander in the Army Corps of Engineers, I understand the diligent process that the Agency undertakes when assessing these types of projects. The rigor of the previous review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and its strong safety record since commercial operations began in 2017, are testimony to the dedication of those charged with oversight in these matters. The project has undergone multiple reviews and has been approved each time. Energy infrastructure is key to the revitalization of American energy independence. More infrastructure projects such as these are necessary in order for the U.S to increase pipeline capacity, lower consumer prices at the pump, and support our allies across the world via exports, and we have a proven regulatory process to help achieve those goals.” 

GAIN Applauds Dakota Access Pipeline’s Generous Donation to the Harrisburg Community Foundation

Dakota News Now recently reported on the generous donation the Dakota Access Pipeline made to a local community in Harrisburg, South Dakota. The Harrisburg Community Foundation received $175,000 from Dakota Access Pipeline for significant improvements to their Central Park, whose championship field has now been renamed Dakota Access Field. Expected to be completed by the fall, the contribution will allow the foundation to construct a new facility that houses a concession stand, restrooms, storage space, a media box, and viewing decks.

According to a statement provided to Dakota News Now, Adrienne McKeown, executive director of the Harrisburg Community Foundation, said “thanks to the generosity of Dakota Access Pipeline, we have been able to bring enhancements to the park that are necessary to keep up with our rapidly growing community. This new facility will not only benefit baseball fans but the amenities can be used by all who visit the park.”

This contribution is just another example of the positive role companies play in their communities, and more specifically, the economic benefits that the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to bring to the state of South Dakota. Since DAPL began operation in 2017, the pipeline has paid more than $17.8 million in property taxes that support local schools, hospitals, emergency services, and other critical ongoing needs. It is very encouraging to see this commitment to local communities go one step further—strengthening them through social investment.

One of the safest, most technologically advanced pipelines in the world, the Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile underground 30” pipeline that transports 570,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken production area in North Dakota, through South Dakota to terminals in Patoka, Illinois.

In a Fox News Op-Ed, Former Energy Secretary Perry says President Biden should look to Texas and send a special Envoy to Midland

Fox News recently published an opinion piece by Former Texas Secretary of Energy Rick Perry coinciding with President Biden’s bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia. The President’s trip focused on a myriad of topics, among them, the global energy crisis and potential solutions to alleviate high prices. Perry believes the trip could be beneficial to American energy interests, but given President Biden’s hostility to domestic energy producers, “our leaders would rather first look abroad for solutions to the current energy crisis rather than removing barriers to American energy development.” 

Instead of supporting domestic development, President Biden has focused his efforts on blaming energy companies, while limiting their operations. Volatile fuel prices will not stop until the administration ends their “keep it in the ground” stance on energy projects. Secretary Perry highlights his service at the Energy Department, where he worked to expand American energy production and keep energy prices affordable. He writes that when he left the Department of Energy, “America was a net-exporter of American oil and natural gas.”

The Biden Administration is now considering a windfalls tax on the very industry needed to help fight volatile fuel prices and ensure America’s energy independence. The Carter Administration tried a similar measure with its Windfall Profits Tax but domestic production decreased, subsequently making the U.S. more reliant on foreign imports. This is the exact opposite of what the administration should be doing.

In addition to traveling to Saudi Arabia, President Biden should visit Texas and North Dakota, two of the most critical energy producing regions in the country. Thanks to development of the Bakken Formation, as well as robust investments, North Dakota now accounts for nearly 10 percent of the nation’s oil production. The President should offer clarity to domestic energy leadership by supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has created thousands of jobs and has the capacity to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day.

The administration needs to support domestic energy infrastructure and offshore leasing, instead of promoting ineffective solutions. The President and Secretary Granholm should come back to the table and work with industry leaders on achieving energy independence once again. Secretary Perry concludes his piece emphasizing how President Biden should listen to Americans who are struggling to fill their gas tanks and pay their grocery bills by reversing course and finally put forth tangible solutions to address our country’s energy crisis.

Mark Robeck in RealClear Energy: “No, President Biden, Releasing Petroleum Reserves Isn’t Bringing Down Gas Prices”

RealClear Energy ran an op-ed by Mark Robeck, former Deputy General Counsel for Energy Policy at the United States Department of Energy, focused on how the Biden Administration’s short term “fixes,” such as releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), are failing to bring down prices. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm held a closed-door meeting in mid-June with oil and gas executives to discuss ways to mitigate rising fuel costs, but the meeting yielded no tangible results. The administration continues to try to blame oil and gas companies for price gouging, “despite the fact many of Biden’s own policies are not alleviating the problem,” Robeck notes.

The administration seems set on ineffective approaches to our energy policy that will have no long term impact on the cost of energy. For example, Secretary Granholm visited a SPR facility in the Bayou Louisiana ahead of additional oil releases. Despite the record release from the SPR, gasoline prices are actually higher than they were when President Biden first announced the release in April. Now, President Biden has endorsed suspending the federal gas tax on gasoline, another futile short-term “solution.” Further, some estimates of fuel costs see gas prices rising towards an average of $6 per gallon nationwide.

Policy decision such as cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, suspending offshore lease sales in Alaska and the gulf, as well as imposing more burdensome regulations on new energy production and infrastructure have all contributed to the pending domestic energy crisis. Democrats are now trying to fix the problem President Biden and his administration have facilitated. For example, Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) and Representative Khanna (D-CA) introduced a bill known as the Windfall Profits Tax. This same policy was attempted by President Carter in 1980, but led to a decrease in domestic production and a greater reliance on foreign imports. Robeck says, “In the long run, this approach could have the reverse of the stated objective and instead reduce the production of oil which limits supply.”

Similarly, Robeck believes the release of 180 million barrels form the SPR threatens our national security, but is not lowering gas prices. The SPR is intended only for “severe energy supply disruptions” such as the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, or natural disasters. “The current high prices at the pump are a real national concern, but playing politics with a national security asset is not the way to address the problem,” Robeck writes. The President’s SPR release has weakened our national security and harmed the country’s ability to respond to a severe disruption in our energy supply, or even a natural disaster in the Gulf, for example.

Robeck concludes his piece by saying that in order for energy producers to deploy their capital, the Biden Administration has to instill confidence in the long-term recovery of those assets. Supporting the energy sector through new pipeline projects, less red-tape, and continued on and offshore leasing is key to fighting rising fuel costs. Demonizing energy companies is not part of the solution.

Rick Perry: Feeling Pain at the Pump? Urge Biden to Back More Domestic Energy Production

The Houston Chronicle published an op-ed by Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas and the 14th Secretary of Energy, urging the Biden Administration to take action in the face of rising fuel costs. Even though President Biden’s long-term energy policies are not solely responsible for skyrocketing prices, they are not helping lower costs for the American people either.

Misguided policy decisions such as canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, restricting drilling on federal lands, and canceling offshore lease agreements have sent negative signals to the domestic energy sector. Secretary Perry writes, “Our leaders need to put partisanship aside and commit to serious policies that will free families from the crippling worries of their wallets and bring down the high cost of energy.” Similarly, he notes the administration must embrace an “all-of-the-above” approach to the energy crisis just as Perry did while he was Secretary of Energy. Near term solutions like tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve does not address the root of this crisis.

Supporting an “all-of-the-above” approach also means the Administration should be supporting infrastructure projects, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. Perry says “Shutting down the Dakota Access pipeline would be both detrimental to our own domestic energy supply, and our allies in Europe.” Citing a recent survey commissioned by the GAIN coalition that found bipartisan support (79 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans polled) for the continuation of strong domestic energy production, it is evident that the infrastructure project should continue to operate as the Army Corp of Engineers completes its Environmental Review.

In addition to carrying crude oil nearly 1,200 miles from North Dakota through to Illinois, the Dakota Access Pipeline also created 12,000 jobs to the American people, as well as $113 million worth of property taxes. Projects such as these are critical to America’s energy sector, and also benefit local communities.

In order to fight surging gas prices, the U.S. needs its elected officials to pursue policies that expand production and create opportunities domestically. Perry ends his piece with a prediction: “We need leaders who don’t embrace patchwork policies in favor of long-term solutions that effectively address our country’s energy crisis. If they can’t even do that, then November will be a month of reckoning.”

McCown in RealClearEnergy: Biden Must Keep “Indispensable” DAPL Running

RealClearEnergy published an Op-Ed by Brigham McCown, GAIN strategic advisor and former head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. His piece notes the questionable choices made by the Biden Administration as it relates to domestic energy productions, including the recent decision to cancel offshore lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The Op-Ed also highlights the impressive economic and safety benefits of transporting oil and natural gas via pipelines compared to other forms of transportation.

After criticizing President Biden’s unwise energy agenda, McCown notes the uncertainty surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, a crucial pipeline that connects oil producers in North Dakota with terminals over 1,000 miles away. According to McCown’s piece, “federal regulators are also in the process of deciding the status of a key pipeline that operates in the Midwest. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is an indispensable piece of America’s energy infrastructure, transporting over half a million barrels of oil each day from North Dakota to Midwest markets. Yet this critical piece of energy infrastructure remains under assault, with far-left groups continuing to challenge it in courts. If opponents have their way, oil could stop flowing altogether.”

 The stoppage of oil from North Dakota via safe and efficient pipelines could end up pushing energy prices even higher due to capacity constraints. With energy prices continuing to surge, the federal government must do everything in its power to not put even more upward pressure on prices.

 In addition to the importance of pipelines to the economy, he also notes their important safety features. As former head of PHMSA, he developed and enforced regulations of American pipelines, so he has invaluable knowledge of the industry. As he writes in his piece, “I can personally attest to the importance of pipeline infrastructure to the United States. Pipelines are the safest and most efficient method of transportation for oil and natural gas. A 2019 report compiled by PHSMA to Congress found that pipelines have a significantly lower incident rate when compared to other forms of transportation.” 

Getting the United States’ energy crisis under control is not easy, but it is crucial we keep DAPL in operation. McCown argues as gas prices reach new daily record highs, it’s of the utmost importance that the Policymakers come together to prioritize investment in our critical energy infrastructure. Reliable, affordable domestic energy is key to driving economic growth and protecting the wallets of American families.

Patrice Douglas: Boost American Energy Production to Control High Energy Costs

RealClear Energy recently published an op-ed by GAIN’s Patrice Douglas, an attorney and former chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, regarding domestic energy production and pipeline infrastructure. The piece highlights how the Biden administration’s restrictive energy policies are not effectively addressing the steady rise in gas prices across the country. Gas prices at the pump are averaging more than $4 per gallon as crude oil prices are more than $100 a barrel.

The rising cost of energy has also fueled the steady rise in prices, and it was announced in April that inflation rose 8.3 percent over the last 12 months. Douglas believes the best way to combat these challenges is to increase domestic energy production. 

In her piece, Douglas writes: “Encouraging domestic oil production should become a core tenet to President Biden’s approach. Specifically, the administration should support a more efficient process for permitting pipeline infrastructure, and reverse the current pause on federal leasing. The consequences for not investing in domestic energy production here at home are clear.  But it is not too late to put our country back on the right course to – once again – reach energy independence.”

Our country’s vast network of pipelines are integral to energy and national security, which connect often-remote oil producing areas with storage and refining facilities hundreds of miles away. One pipeline that is undergoing yet another environmental review by the federal government is the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is responsible for transporting over half a million barrels of oil per day. Douglas notes DAPL “is one of the most technologically advanced and safest pipelines ever built. Entirely underground, this pipeline meets or exceeds every state, local and federal safety requirement.”

Further, the piece includes recent polling conducted by GAIN showing Americans support the continued operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline by a five to one margin. The survey also found that a majority of Americans support increasing U.S energy production in light of President Biden’s decision to halt Russian oil imports.

Douglas concludes his piece by writing, “the consequences for not investing in domestic energy production here at home are clear.  But it is not too late to put our country back on the right course to – once again – reach energy independence.” To effectively address rising energy costs, the U.S. needs to continue to invest in domestic energy production and the necessary infrastructure.

Stevens Op-ed: Leadership is Needed to Reach Energy Independence

The Washington Times published an op-ed from GAIN spokesman Craig Stevens in which he discusses the importance of domestic energy production to the American economy. With the sharp spike in gasoline and oil prices due in large part to misguided federal policies, Stevens argues that prices can reverse if President Biden supports safe, responsible oil and gas projects here at home. Domestic energy projects ensure a consistent supply of oil needed to keep our economy running, empower energy independence, and put Americans on the job.

In one excerpt from the piece, he notes:

“Thankfully, the United States has the capacity to make sustainable investments in energy here at home. The U.S. has more untapped oil than any country on earth—about 264 billion barrels worth— that can be leveraged to put downward pressure on future prices in the future. It’s a reasonable approach towards becoming energy independent, and a majority of Americans recognize it’s time we utilize it.”

Instead of restrictive policies that disincentivize energy investments, Stevens offers a series of solutions that would spur production of fossil fuels. Restarting the Keystone XL pipeline, expanding the onshore oil and gas leasing process, and scaling back burdensome regulations would all help reestablish the United States as an energy leader. These actions would help deliver energy independence and as he notes, “everything we need is right beneath our feet—it’s time we tap into it.”

Further, Stevens makes note of the importance of pipeline infrastructure as a crucial component in order to meet our energy needs. Pipelines are the safest and most efficient method of transportation for crude oil and natural gas. These projects help connect often remote energy producing areas with storage and refining facilities many miles away. On pipeline infrastructure, Stevens writes:

“To tap into American energy, President Biden should prioritize domestic development and pipeline projects. Our vast pipeline network connects oil patches with refiners and other manufacturers across the country, helping fuel the American economy. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation show pipelines are the safest way to transport energy.”

Stevens also highlights the many benefits of infrastructure projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline and why it benefits the economy and hardworking American workers. This pipeline, which is currently undergoing review by the Army Corps of Engineers and an updated Environmental Impact Statement is expected in the weeks ahead. The op-ed also highlights recent GAIN poll numbers showing that 83 percent of North Dakotans support keeping the pipeline operational.

Former KXL, DAPL Worker Shares Perspective on the Importance of Pipelines

This week, Fox Business published an op-ed by Jason Jernigan, a pipeline worker from Arkansas who lost his job when President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. Jernigan offers a unique perspective from the labor community on how short-sighted political decisions in Washington can impact the livelihood of workers and their families. His piece notes that gas prices have risen dramatically under the Biden administration, which is partially due to the President’s hostility towards the oil and gas sector and Russia’s unprovoked invasion into Ukraine.

One way to increase the supply of oil, as Jernigan argues, is for President Biden to reconsider his shortsighted decision on Keystone XL, which would have transported nearly 1 million barrels of Canadian oil daily into the United States. He also discusses his personal involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and how he can “attest to its safety and technical standards.” The project transports hundreds of thousands of barrels from North Dakota on through Illinois, but the Biden administration is currently reviewing whether to keep it operational.

Jernigan notes the national importance of pipelines and how the DAPL specifically is popular with the American people. The piece highlights recent GAIN poll numbers showing that 86% of Americans agreed that we should continue to work towards energy independence. “North Dakotans were asked whether the DAPL plays a significant role in North Dakota’s economy, and 85% said it does and nearly the same number said DAPL should remain operational.”

President Biden should support both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, as they ensure a consistent supply of oil needed to keep our economy running, empower energy independence, and put Americans on the job. As a candidate, Joe Biden campaigned on accomplishing all of those promises, but Jernigan isn’t so sure that Biden holds the same level of commitment as President:

 “To replace energy imports from Russia, the Biden administration has turned to nations like Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Instead of calling on these countries to boost output, the U.S. should instead invest in our vast energy resources here at home. The safest and most effective way to do this is to support our nation’s great oil and gas infrastructure projects. 

Without delay, the administration should restart construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which I was due to work on last year. According to the EIA, the U.S. imported roughly 672,000 barrels of petroleum – including crude oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, biofuels, and refined products such as gasoline and diesel fuel – per day from Russia in 2021.

Had the Biden administration not canceled the project on Day One, the Keystone XL pipeline would be on its way to importing an additional 900,000 barrels per day, and thousands of pipeline workers like myself would still be employed.”

He concludes his piece by urging President Biden to reconsider his position on pipelines and fully embrace American energy security. No matter how long it takes, Jernigan and thousands of pipeline workers just like him are ready to work at a moment’s notice, but the Biden administration needs to let them.

Support Domestic Oil and Gas Production to End Foreign Energy Reliance

The Dallas Morning News published an op-ed this week by former Energy Information Administration administrator Guy Caruso on the pressing need to strengthen American energy production. Caruso asserts that in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine, there is a compelling security need to end our reliance on energy from hostile foreign governments. He says long overdue policy goal can be achieved by “supporting safe, responsible oil and gas projects” here at home.

His piece questions the White House’s solution to askforeign countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, to ramp up oil production as a means to fill our country’s energy needs. This is not the best path forward to becoming energy independent, as Caruso states “leaving the Russian market just to turn to other adversaries around the globe is not how the United States can end its reliance on foreign energy.”

Instead, Caruso offers a series of proposals to address the current energy crisis, such as approving permits for pipelines and other projects, cutting bureaucratic red tape, renewing offshore lease sales, and building the Keystone XL Pipeline. He also makes an excellent case for keeping the Dakota Access Pipeline operational, which is currently undergoing review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as it safely delivers reliable energy to consumers around the country. Taking these steps, according to him, is a real way to “tap into America’s energy potential.”

Caruso’s piece makes a strong argument that ending our dependence on foreign nations for energy begins with relying on domestic energy production and infrastructure in America. Tapping into domestic oil and gas will ensure the United States is in a position of strength for years to come.