Yesterday we got news from Reuters that delays in completing the Dakota Access Pipeline brought on by intense and often violent protests will mean the oil intended to begin flowing through that line in January will likely be shipped by rail.
Since we all know that pipelines are a more efficient, less carbon-intensive, and overall safer way to ship oil that’s an outcome you wouldn’t think a bunch of environmentalists want.
But wait! There’s more!
In op/ed today in the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Kevin Cramer notes that the water intake for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation is being moved to a spot near Mobridge, South Dakota (a story I broke back in September). “The new site sits roughly 70 miles downstream of where the pipeline is slated to cross the Missouri River,” Cramer writes. “Notably, the new intake, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, will be 1.6 miles downstream of an elevated railroad bridge that carries tanker cars carrying crude oil.”
The “water protectors” want to block a pipeline because it would be 70 miles downstream from the Standing Rock reservation’s water intake, but that will result in more oil being shipped across a rail bridge which is only about a mile and a half up stream from the reservation’s new water intake.
Here’s a map showing the location of the rail crossing Cramer is referring to as well as the location of Standing Rock’s new water intake (here’s a link to this location on Google Maps if you want to zoom out and look around):
I should note that I don’t think it’s particularly unsafe for this water intake to be downstream from the rail crossing. Rail shipments of oil are generally safe, I think. Just not quite as safe as pipelines.
And if you’re going to brand yourself “water protectors” while opposing a pipeline, then I think you should have to take some responsibilities for the side effects of your activism. Particularly when they’re not all that conducive to, you know, protecting water and stuff.