WASHINGTON - “After months of unceasing pressure from peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock, people backed by unprecedented unity among North American tribes, it’s not surprising that President Obama has been forced to comment on the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Now he needs to act. The federal governments is failing indigenous communities seeking to protect their sacred lands from indiscriminate desecration, driven by the corporate-driven assault of oil development and destruction.
A problem certainly, but one that is actually rather usual. The thousands of "brown fields" that no litter the US, full of who knows what; the large number of mines abandoned, and left to ooze out toxic minerals into the waterways; the nuclear production sites still smoking. Always the same drill: eager investors, lots of good jobs, lots of optimism. But the business turns out to not that smart, and it gets sold. Any thought about "clean up money" goes away, and the last "investor" just walks. The citizens are left holding the bag. Indeed, there are plans to "clean up the brown fields", but doing that task with tax payer money. Seems like the solution is obvious. When a new project is proposed, approval requires getting a well funded, irrevocable pile of cash assigned up to remediate the site. This is money in the bank, not promise on the paper. The other plan is what German does. A Federal employee checks all industrial sites. When emissions are over the limit there are two choices. The first is that the company is fined, and that fine is sufficient for the Feds to pay for cleaning up the mess, or, the company can clean up the mess. Obviously our problem is that almost everybody does the walk away thing. The pipeline breaks, millions of dollars damage, and that damage poisons our ecosystem. The owners expect the Feds to clean up their mess. Sort like three year olds.
Gotta change the system. President Obama is, as we know, trapped in the White House. We have to change our system.