Energy

GOP Lawmaker Tried Earmarking $6 Million To Protect An Oil Pipeline From Eco-Activists

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven tried to put a provision in a government spending bill to fund state and local security for projects on or near land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sounds a little obscure, but it just so happens a major oil pipeline is being built in North Dakota that’s under siege by environmental activists. It could have benefited from federal grants to beef up local law enforcement.

Building sites for the Dakota Access oil pipeline have already seen clashes between environmentalists, Standing Rock Sioux tribesmen, private security and oil workers.

Unknown saboteurs have set fire to equipment at three pipeline construction sites.

About 30 activists have been arrested picketing the pipeline, and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, the company building the pipeline, unsuccessfully tried to get a restraining order against protesters.

Police even charged Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein with criminal trespass and criminal mischief for joining activists in spray painting “I approve this message” on a bulldozer blade.

Unfortunately for Hoeven, his provision didn’t make it into the final version of the bill, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Hoeven’s amendment called for $6,000,000 to “be made available for a grant award to States and units of local government to address precipitous increases in crime for use in providing public safety in areas with protest activity on or in close proximity to a project or land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers,” according to legislative text obtained by The Daily Caller New Foundation.

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline would carry 470,000 barrels of Bakken oil per day from North Dakota to central Illinois. The pipeline is expected to create as many as 12,000 jobs, but environmentalists and the Sioux want the Corps to kill the project.

Activists argue pipeline leaks could damage sacred Sioux sites and would contribute to global warming through increased oil production. Many of the activists opposing Dakota Access were involved in blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.

A federal judge, however, shot down arguments the pipeline could damage sacred sites in a September ruling. The Obama administration quickly moved to halt construction on portions of the pipeline for further review.

Republicans largely want to see the pipeline built. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple was less than happy about the Obama administration temporarily halting the pipeline.

“I am hoping this is not a stonewall tactic,” Dalrymple said. “They seem to be talking about the process going forward, and if that’s what the discussion is about, everyone is happy to participate.”

Hoeven joined Dalrymple and other lawmakers in September calling for more federal funding for federal law enforcement in North Dakota.

“Today, we called on the Department of Justice to provide more law enforcement officers to North Dakota to work with state and local law enforcement and ensure public safety,” Hoeven said in a Sept. 15 statement.

“We’ve also called on both the district and deputy director of the Corps to resolve the Dakota Access Pipeline issue,” he said. “After careful consideration, the court has decided that the project can proceed. Now everyone needs to follow the law. If the administration wants to review the process for consulting tribes on public infrastructure projects, it should do so prospectively, not retroactively.”

Hoeven’s office did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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