A few recent headlines in the regional media are interesting, given their juxtaposition.
Our state’s battle to be reimbursed for the heavy costs of handling the violent and often unlawful #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. “North Dakota’s congressional delegation is calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to address the state’s year-old request for $38 million to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline,” the Associated Press reports.
State leaders argue, correctly, that the federal government is liable for these costs because under the Obama administration they allowed violent extremists to camp, illegally, on federal land. The feds also largely refused to take action to help impose law and order on what was a chaotic, and potentially deadly, situation.
Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, has paid North Dakota $15 million to help recoup some of these costs. It was a nice gesture, but they shouldn’t have. No law-abiding person, or business, should be expected to pay the government for protection from those engaged in unlawful activities.
But in addition to that payment and beyond the clear economic benefits the pipeline has created for North Dakota – at one point it was estimated the project was generating $6 million in tax revenues for the state per month – the folks at ETP continue to be good neighbors.
Today the company announced a $3 million donation to the City of Mandan for downtown development. If you followed the #NoDAPL protests you know that Mandan was one of the communities hit hard by the furious activists who descended on the state.
This is hardly the only example of the company’s generosity. Last year ETP made what at the time was the largest donation ever to the University of Mary in Bismarck.
The political extremists who opposed the pipeline would have us believe that the pipeline company was the villain in that conflict. Yet all the company did was follow the laws to build, in a responsible and safe manner, an important piece of infrastructure to serve North Dakota’s energy industry. And along the way they’ve been open handed in terms of giving to the state and its various institutions and communities.
All we got from the extremists was violence and tons of trash.