With celebrities abandoning their craft and switching gears to advocating against the oil and gas industry, it can easily lead audiences to believe there really are no more good ideas for movies left out there. Continuing their latest crusade against pipelines, the Dakota Access Pipeline finds itself in the crosshairs. Recent Hollywood cries are being bestowed upon the greatest oil and gas nemesis out there, Joe Biden.
Celebrity activists, including Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo Dicaprio, are pushing the Biden administration to continue its path of pipeline destruction. After killing approximately 10,000 jobs with the Keystone Pipeline shutdown, Biden is being urged to put his foot on the necks of additional pipeline workers with the termination of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
With a letter to the Biden camp, the celebrity group of over 200 fellow cronies argued that Former President Donald Trump violated the constitution during his reign in the Oval Office. Citing several injustices and environmental concerns, the group played to Biden’s well-scripted environmental campaign.
In addition to Ruffalo and Dicaprio, several big names added their John Hancock to the letter. They include: Cher, Ava DuVernay, Jane Fonda, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Jason Moma, Kerry Washington, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, Aaron Rodgers, Shailene Woodley, Bruce Cohen, Julia Walsh, Marisa Tomei and Rebecca Chaiklin. Although the list contains big names, one can certainly question if anyone takes them more seriously than they do themselves. Joining forces as one united voice, as misguided as it might be, the group pointed out issues and demands:
- References a four-year struggle by the Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Yankton Sioux, and the Oglala tribes to hinder pipeline completion.
- Urges to rectify the historical injustice waged against the tribes.
- Deems the Dakota Access Pipeline illegal and orders the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to shut it down.
- Demands a detailed environmental review with tribal input and consent.
Shedding Light with Opposition
Rebuking the claims of Hollywood’s fossil fuel crusaders, some have offered a different perspective. According to gainfactchecker.org, the letter indicated that the pipeline had originally been mapped to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck, ND, but the potential for an oil spill over the city’s majority white citizens was unacceptable. In rebuttal, the pipeline’s current route was always preferred because the alternative would have crossed an additional 27 waterways and agricultural land.
The letter further argues environmental racism because North Dakota law officials violently removed protesters from the path of the pipeline. Opposing facts presented indicate that less than ten percent of the protestors were actually from North Dakota. Residency was found to span from Florida to Vermont with California as well. More than 600 of the hostile protesters were arrested for crimes including slaughtering livestock, setting fires, throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers, discharging weapons at police officers, spraying police with pepper spray and terrorizing journalists.
Insinuating that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was not heard, the letter further advanced its cries of social injustice. Opposing viewpoints counter that almost 400 tribal meetings were held with the Corps of Engineers. In fact, seven instances were noted where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe declined to participate in the process.
Responding to the letter’s notion that the Dakota Access Pipeline is illegal, gainfactchecker.org further notes that the pipeline was subjected to a robust approval process that involved regulatory agencies on the local, state, and federal levels. Energy Transfer, who developed the pipeline, obtained all required approvals and permits and adhered to the rules instituted by governing bodies.
The Dakota Access Pipeline’s fate will be determined in due time. The Biden/Harris leadership front will have to stop swaying in the wind and render a response. It is already obvious in nature. The probable response of shutdown through executive order will slingshot the very effect that Representative Dan Crenshaw has been warning. Jobs will be lost, and energy prices will increase. Those who struggle will continue to do so, but actors will feel a sense of satisfaction having used words like “justice” and “climate.” Besides awaiting an actual and definite response from the Biden administration, this writer is anxious to know who will win an Oscar for their participation in the strategically played letter. If only Cher could “Turn Back Time,” I would love to know how many private jets she has chartered in her successful career. Maybe they were fueled by hopes and dreams…
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]