“Attached is what greeted us this morning!” a SAB reader emails this evening.
The attachment was this panoramic photo (click for a larger view) showing what appears to be the last length of pipe to be laid in the Dakota Access project before the Lake Oahe reservoir crossing.
“This is at the end of the line close to Lake Oahe,” the reader told me, adding that the workers were “celebrating.”
The last couple of weeks have been intense in south central North Dakota where this work has been taking place. Activists have engaged in one riot after another, clashing violently with law enforcement while setting fire to vehicles and construction equipment.
Seeing this segment of pipe come through – complete with a thank you message from some fellow union workers – has to feel pretty good for the pipeliners. Those men and women have had to deal with threats and vandalism, just for doing their jobs.
I hope they all took a moment to enjoy it.
We knew this day was close. Governor Jack Dalrymple told me last week that he expected work outside of the Lake Oahe crossing to be completed by the weekend. Obviously the work has gone on a bit beyond that – perhaps thanks to delays caused by the aforementioned rioting – but it seems the finish line is in sight.
All that will be left is for the Obama administration, or whoever the next president is, to end the blockade of an easement for the Oahe crossing. President Barack Obama has said that he’d like to let that situation play out for “several more weeks,” whatever that means.
My guess is that this is a decision which will be made by the new president.
But even with that decision still pending, perhaps an end to active construction along with impending winter weather will inspire the more extreme elements of the #NoDAPL protests to leave.
Leave, I’d point out, having accomplished very little.