August 5, 2020 Read More →

DAPL owners estimate North Dakota could lose $7.5 billion from shutdown

The Dickinson Press ($):

The operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline say that shuttering their pipeline, as a federal judge ordered them to do last month, would deal a devastating blow to the North Dakota economy.

In one especially catastrophic prediction, cited in Dakota Access’ request for an emergency stay, the company argues that shutting down DAPL “would inflict $7.5 billion in losses on North Dakota companies, employees, and that state’s budget alone through 2021.”

It’s a huge number. But is it right? 

Clark Williams-Derry, an analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and a fellow at the sustainability think tank Sightline, also suggested that the Bakken’s best days could already be behind it and said there seems to be “real factual disconnect” in Dakota Access’ $7.5 billion figure.

“When I look at that I think, ‘OK yeah, you just get to invent whatever number you want,'” he said. “Make whatever assumptions you want, and because you’re business, people are going to trust you or believe your numbers, when it has absolutely nothing to do with reality.”

Williams-Derry points to North Dakota’s gross state product, the aggregate value of goods and services produced in the state, as a reference point: total GSP for North Dakota was about $51 billion in 2016, before DAPL was completed, and about $54 billion after its completion in 2019. And only a small part of that $3 billion growth, according to Williams-Derry, should be attributed to DAPL. “At a minimum, it looks like it’s a stretch. A real stretch,” he said. “It seems like they’re saying that shutting down DAPL would have a bigger impact on the economy than building it in the first place.”

[Adam Willis]

More: Dakota Access says shutting down its pipeline would cost North Dakota billions. Are they right?

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