Should Obama intervene in the Dakota Access Pipeline standoff? | The Tylt
Should Obama intervene in the Dakota Access Pipeline standoff?
Many of Obama's advisers are urging him to act. Hundreds have been arrested and as the situation escalates, the potential for violence just grows. The onset of winter, plus extreme military tactics such as water cannons and rubber bullets, could turn the protest into a human rights crisis.
Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II made a statement requesting that Obama rescind the permit for the pipeline to end the standoff:
We ask that everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits, and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When the Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition. Our concerns were clearly articulated directly to them in a tribal council meeting held on Sept. 30, 2014, where DAPL and the ND Public Service Commission came to us with this route. Again, we ask that the United States stop the pipeline and move it outside our ancestral and treaty lands.
Obama has always been one for careful deliberation. The president isn't a king—Obama may know better than anyone that his intervention could create more problems than it solves. His administration is currently holding consultations with tribes across the US, and Obama alluded to the fact that the consultation process will “play out for several more weeks” before the administration takes action.
Obama explained that “right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways we can reroute this pipeline, so we're going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that is properly attentive to the tradition of First Americans.” He also called for restraint on the part of law enforcement and continued non-violence for protestors.
The time has long since come for President Obama to stand up and finally be a man of the people. He is passing up a golden opportunity to express solidarity with the water protectors who are putting their lives on the line against the DAPL. Obama can remain silent no longer as his silence equals approval and approval of an environmental disaster sends the message to the people that maybe he never really cared.
The situation looks very dire—but perhaps the president believes he should not intervene because of the benefits of a pipeline will outweigh the negatives. ProCon reports that
Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will help the United States to become more energy independent. There are 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines currently running through the United States. Reducing oil imports from the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere lowers US dependence on foreign energy, which in turn bolsters national security and creates leverage to push for human rights improvements in oil-producing nations. Oil imports account for nearly two-thirds of the US annual trade deficit, but North Dakota's 251% increase in oil production since 2010 can significantly cut back on the billions of dollars leaving the US economy. President Obama spoke about increased domestic oil production in his 2013 State of the Union speech, saying, "After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future." The pipeline is considered a big step in that direction.
Let's not forget that Obama's days as president will soon come to an end. Should a "lame duck" president really be making this decision at the 11th hour?