As always, there are two sides to every story. I would liken this to getting a permit to build a pool in your back yard, following all the steps to secure that permit after legally buying your home, getting three quarters of the way done with the pool and finding a group of protesters in your back yard one morning because your home is on a Native American burial site. An opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel suggests that the popular story about the Dakota Access pipeline may not be as truthful as we all think.
According to the Orlando Sentinel piece, the company followed all the rules, attempted to contact and meet with tribal leaders ahead of time, submitted to an intense permitting process, and according to court records only ran into trouble after getting 77% done with the project. Masked by claims of intrusion on tribal land, many politicians and celebrities have been attracted to the area by the mere fact that pipelines are associated with global warming. Typically, the true reasons for the protest lie at the end of the list of grievances.
Liberals and Libertarians have decried the police use of tactics usually reserved for trespassing rioters who destroy personal property. Of course, that response by police and authorities may be because protesters are trespassing, rioting, and destroying personal property. Green Party candidate Jill Stein even had a warrant for her arrest issued after vandalizing construction equipment.
If you are a protester and you are on someone else’s property destroying their equipment and costing them money, you are the one choosing the consequences of such action. If that includes water cannons on a cold day or the rubber bullets that police use against trespassing rioters, then those consequences should be accepted. If in fact the Sioux tribe is in the right and the company, government, courts, etc are in the wrong about the facts of this case, then such measures are indeed unjust. As usual, the weight of the consequences and the violence towards the pipeline workers will be measured by public opinion.
Speaking of public opinion, here is a question for our friends on the left who are so outraged at the treatment of protesters who are on government or private land, destroying private equipment, and refusing to move. Where were you when an Oregon farmer was sent to jail for protecting government land with a controlled burn to prevent wildfires? Remember when a bunch of farmers protesting the government’s attempt to seize Cliven Bundy’s land protested by seizing a remote ranger’s station?
Despite not damaging the station, these protesters weren’t called demonstrators. They were called occupiers and trespassers. More liberal media outlets labeled them as white militants. This didn’t end with riot gear. It ended with the FBI shooting and killing one of the ranchers at a traffic stop. Where were the celebrities, politicians, etc during the Bundy protests? The media is focusing on land taken from the Sioux hundreds of years ago and ignores special laws designed to help Native Americans today. During the Oregon mess the media asked why farmers would be so obstinate about the government taking their land when they receive so many subsidies.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting the Oregon farmers were right in their standoff. But neither are the rioters and vandals at the Dakota Pipeline site. Add this sad tale to the mounting argument of a biased and inconsistent media reporting.