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24 B A K K E N O I L B U S I N E S S J O U R N A L April/May17 ➤ continued from pg 23 confrontations despite the often violent methods of pro- testers. With camps cleared following an executive order for completion of the project by President Trump, the final segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline was completed underneath the bed of Lake Oahe. Lessons were Learned Dakota Access Pipeline offers poignant lessons in the de- velopment of energy infrastructure in North Dakota. The permitting process offered an exhaustive public forum for all parties involved; including, but not limited to: • The North Dakota's Public Service Commission allowed for full community participation and input from stakeholders during the permitting decision process. • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers review process demon- strated Dakota Access' sound environmental mitigation plan. Unfortunately, despite thorough state government review, an independent federal regulatory review process, and federal court rulings that upheld the permits and de- cisions, the hand of Washington politics still held undue influence prior to the final completion of the project. Dakota Access Pipeline Benefits Beyond the added tax revenues for the state, and beyond the critical infrastructure necessary for resource develop- ment, one of the great benefits of this project has been bringing to the forefront the need to support critical infra- structure projects. The Dakota Access Pipeline is just the beginning for North Dakota. It is a demonstrated success model to be built upon. Across our region, road, rail, and pipeline infrastructure requires sound investment to adequately service consum- ers. Consumers that rely on Bakken crude in their daily lives. Reliable and safe infrastructure like the Dakota Ac- cess Pipeline will bring these resources to market, thereby, enhancing America's energy independence and keeping costs low for American consumers. Proposals by the Trump Administration to spur these types of investments are welcome news. Attempts to stymie infrastructure development like late-term actions taken against the Dakota Access Pipeline, or a failure to issue federal permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, are now in the dustbin of history. The United States Moves Forward The United States has made a choice to move forward. In- frastructure development will create jobs, create new ac- cess to resources, and grow our economy. North Dakota should remain at the forefront of those policies and con- tinue the growth experienced throughout the shale boom. Public-private partnerships and independent private in- vestment as proposed by the Trump Administration pave the way to sound investments; this balances the profitabil- ity of the private sector with the accountability of a public project. Dakota Access Pipeline's private investment resulted in millions in addition- al tax revenues for the state. The monies will augment funding for schools, services, and state-run infrastructure projects; all without construction costs borne by state taxpayers. To further develop in this man- ner, and in the manner proposed by the White House, public support is needed. Our Economy Benefits from Good Infrastructure Large scale infrastructure development generates significant economic benefits for thousands of North Dakotans. For de- cades, the country has neglected basic in- frastructure improvements. A sound infra- structure is necessary to sustain economic growth. Construction of new pipelines like the Dakota Access Pipeline is an impor- tant step forward, but more action will be necessary to sustain regions like the Bak- ken. Inaction bears a cost to companies, communities, and consumers. Taking care of our infrastructure will result in healthy growth and employment for thousands of workers whose careers are built on proj- ects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dakota Access Pipeline proved that to be the case. The balance of long and short term economic benefits ensures that both businesses and labor stand to benefit from policies that promote development. More- over, it ensures American competitiveness in a global marketplace – critical to sus- taining our leadership role as an energy producing nation. As the United States pursues an "all of the above" approach to energy policy, our in- frastructure should reflect that, and for the Bakken that means ensuring our support system for energy producers continues to expand and adapt to meet the needs of producers. Long term certainty, both in policy and in committed projects, is cru- cial to sustaining our economy. As we look back on the Dakota Access Pipeline and look forward to the next great opportunity for North Dakota we must keep these lessons in mind, and recognize that the road to long term prosperity is sometimes a road, a pipeline, or a railroad – infrastructure investment remains at the heart of it all. ■