CLAIM: A new book – “Standing With Standing Rock — Voices from the #NODAPL Movement” –paints protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline as both heroes and victims of “ritualistic brutality” in their battle against authorities and corporations – and the environmental dangers posed by the pipeline.
First, let’s look at the record of violent activity by environmental extremists who put themselves, police and workers at risk. This includes environmental extremists setting a dozen fires on a public highway while protesting pipeline.
Extremists also threatened reporters covering the protests. On October 11, 2016, reporters were confronted and threatened with bodily harm. In a video released by NBC North Dakota, masked demonstrators can be seen surrounding the news crew and aggressively challenging their right to report on the unfolding protests. “You guys need to go to your car and get the f**k out of here,” said a protester. “Shut the f**k up. If you keep talking dude I’m going to f**king kick your ass bro,” said another as the journalists scramble to retreat from the public roadway they were reporting from.
The anti-media hostility was reiterated later that day with protesters urging continued confrontation with the NBC affiliate. “At actions, please step forward and place your bodies between #KFYR (KFYR-TV) news anchors’ cameras and the action, and remind them gently but firmly that they are under no circumstances allowed to film the actions of water protectors,” wrote Sara Long in a Facebook post.
In another case, Vice News was banned from the Red Warrior Camp for “negative” coverage of the pipeline resistance efforts. “Vice interview with Chairman Archambault paints a pretty negative picture. Glad we banned their crew from Red Warrior Camp,” the protest group wrote in a Facebook post.
As far as pipeline safety goes, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) concludes that pipelines “enable the safe movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling our economy and way of life.” The PHMSA also says pipelines are “one of the safest and least costly ways to transport energy products.”
Pipelines are the safest, most efficient, and environmentally sensitive way to transport energy resources. In fact, researchers in Canada recently calculated that, when compared to pipelines, an accident is over 4.5 times more likely to occur when oil is shipped via rail. Pipelines also have a much smaller carbon footprint than rail alternatives. One recent study estimated that pipelines cut greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 80 percent.
With that in mind, the Dakota Access Pipeline has eliminated the need for over 700 oil railcars every day. That means over 4.5 million fewer oil railcars have passed through North Dakota since the pipeline went into service.