On behalf of our 400,000 nationwide members, Consumer Energy Alliance expresses its extreme disappointment with the Obama administration’s unprecedented decision to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline — despite project backers having all of its required federal and state permits.
The decision to halt construction from the executive branch came within hours of the judicial branch’s ruling that construction should proceed. The executive order is just another example of this administration overstepping its authority, and in this case, making a decision that directly contradicted a court order and overlooked the required preliminary due diligence of a government agency.
“It is unfortunate that only the most shrill and unrealistic voices are being heard in this debate and the Administration has ceded policy decisions over to Susan Sarandon, hedge fund billionaires, and professional anti-energy activists,” said CEA Executive Vice President Michael Whatley. “Bowing to the whims of protesters will put families and small businesses at the mercy of anti-development groups who offer no real plan to keep our economy moving. Failing to build pipelines will increase electricity and fuel prices.”
The Dakota Access Pipeline is estimated to provide nearly $2 billion in economic benefits and thousands of construction jobs for the four states along the project’s right of way. Over the last few weeks, construction has been hampered by protestors, leading the governor of North Dakota recently to call in the National Guard to help provide security for laborers and the worksite. Friday, a federal judge even ruled against the anti-pipeline activists in their attempt to halt construction, but the administration inserted itself into the two-year long process, forcing agencies to reconsider permits granted under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“The real losers in this decision are Americans on fixed incomes, seniors, families, laborers, and small businesses that depend on affordable energy pipelines bring,” said Brydon Ross, CEA’s Vice President of State Affairs. “Without expanding and building more infrastructure, our government is consigning our future to higher costs and more poverty for many in our society who are already living on the margins.”
“What’s even more frustrating about this decision is that the President is forcing his environmental agencies to perform work that has already been done to appease an extremist base that didn’t like the answer from the last exhaustive process,” Ross continued. “At some point we have to acknowledge all citizens and not just the politics of a few.”