President Obama’s announcement that his administration was looking into possible “re-routes” for the Dakota Access Pipeline is a deeply troubling, unprecedented step not just for this pipeline project but for all future American infrastructure projects. No private company would spend the resources necessary to build a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project if there was a real risk that the federal government would halt or re-route their project once it was already more than 70 percent completed and approved by five governmental agencies—both state and federal.
Last month, the National Association of Manufacturers, along with 21 groups, wrote a letter to the administration expressing concern over continued delays to finalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline. We believe that indecision from the Obama administration has contributed to the lawlessness of the protest in North Dakota and created an unsafe and uncertain environment for the future of infrastructure development.
The administration should fix this mess by issuing the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and hold to existing precedent regarding multibillion-dollar private infrastructure projects.