A Solution for the Dakota Access Pipeline: Let’s Just Sell the Oil to Hobbits


Chase Iron Eyes speaks at the Eliot Glassheim announcement of his Senate campaign at the town square in Grand Forks, N.D. on July 14, 2016. (Meg Oliphant/Grand Forks Herald)

I’ve found a solution for the #NoDAPL situation.

Instead of building a pipeline, let’s just sell the oil to the hobbits.

I’m serious. We could get Gandalf to ride Shadowfax to North Dakota once every week or so, then he could wave his magic staff about and transmogrify the oil into delicious crumpets which then could be sold to the fine, furry-footed folks of Hobbiton who I’m certain would love North Dakota’s transmogrified crumpet exports.


Sound crazy? Well it makes about as much damn sense as what Democratic U.S. House candidate Chase Iron Eyes is proposing.

He says we should just build a state-owned oil refinery. Then we wouldn’t have to export any oil!

David Gipp, former president of the United Tribes Technical College and a Democrat candidate for the state Senate in District 34, agreed with Iron Eyes. They held a press conference together to announce this.

“I’m not saying we could eliminate all of the pipeline issue, but we could vastly reduce it,” Gipp said.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]And you know what the best, most efficient, least environmentally risky way to transport liquid petroleum products is? Flipping. Pipelines.[/mks_pullquote]

So these two intellectual giants admit that their refinery plan wouldn’t actually preclude the need for pipelines, which makes the whole exercise pointless in terms of addressing the Dakota Access issue, but let’s set that issue aside for a moment.

What do they think happens at a refinery? The oil just disappears? It gets turned into crumpets?

No, the oil gets refined into something else. Things like diesel or gasoline. And since North Dakota certainly isn’t going to be able to consume all of the refined product coming out of the state’s oil fields we’re still going to need a way to transport that material out of the state.

And you know what the best, most efficient, least environmentally risky way to transport liquid petroleum products is?

Flipping. Pipelines.

Even if we were living in some sort of dictatorship where the State of North Dakota could just build a refinery and then command the oil companies to ship their oil to it as if we were living in Iran or something, and even if we ignore that building a refinery would probably take the better part of a decade, and even if we pretend like the enormous financial risks associated with owning a refinery don’t exist, we’d still have to get the refined product out of the state once the facility was built.

And that would still probably require some pipelines.

The thing is, this wasn’t even the goofiest thing Iron Eyes said yesterday, because he also said this:

Iron Eyes said they’re not anti-oil, but the state needs leadership to incentivize and facilitate such action.

“Because no matter what we say, there are 4,000 people that are willing to engage in civil disobedience to protect their interests,” he said, referring to the self-described “water protectors” encamped just north of the reservation.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is literally anti-oil. They’ve signed onto a pact with other Native American tribes to block pipelines as a way to keep the oil in the ground. The tribe allows the environmental extremist group Earthjustice – which names stopping oil development as one of their goals – to represent them in court and handle their public affairs.

I understand that they can’t just come out and say they’re anti-oil. That would sound crazy. I mean, Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault owns a gas station, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t peddle a bike share to Switzerland the other day, but still.

You can’t say you’re against building oil pipelines, and then say that you’re pro-oil.

On a related note, Iron Eyes was the only candidate willing to run for the House for Democrats this election cycle. The only one.

The Democrats had nobody else more qualified to run.

Let that sink in.