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Letter

Dakota Access Followed the Permitting Rules
Dakota Access is not the venue for the administration to pursue broader reform of infrastructure regulations, if that is indeed its goal.



Your editorial “Chief Obama and the Dakota Pipeline” (Sept. 14) details the continuing challenges faced by the Dakota Access pipeline, including Native American protesters, environmental groups and as of last week the Obama administration.

Dakota Access followed the letter of the law in its review process, receiving full approval from state and federal regulatory authorities. However, the administration’s joint statement calling for a “voluntary” halt to construction has now stopped a segment of the project. Dakota Access is not the venue for the administration to pursue broader reform of infrastructure regulations, if that is indeed its goal.

Across-the-board opposition to energy infrastructure projects could have deeply troubling consequences for private investment. It is unlikely that companies will invest billions of dollars in projects as Dakota Access has, only to be shut down not just at the 11th hour, but well after midnight. While the groups involved oppose the development of domestic fossil-fuel resources, we will need these energy sources to power U.S. businesses and manufacturers and meet domestic demand for the foreseeable future.

If the federal regulatory process continues to be upended in this manner, companies won’t pursue critical infrastructure projects. The Dakota pipeline, which has construction permits in hand, 8,000 workers in the field and is nearing completion, is too critical to U.S. energy security and economic well-being to be delayed unnecessarily.


William F. Shughart II is Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, J. Fish Smith Professor in Public Choice in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, and editor of the Independent Institute book, Taxing Choice: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination.


From William F. Shughart II
TAXING CHOICE: The Predatory Politics of Fiscal Discrimination
So-called “sin taxes”—the taxing of certain products, like alcohol and tobacco, that are deemed to be “politically incorrect”—have long been a favorite way for politicians to fund programs benefiting special interest groups. But this concept has been applied to such “sinful” products as soft drinks, margarine, telephone calls, airline tickets, and even fishing gear. What is the true record of this selective, often punitive, approach to taxation?







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