If Hollywood celebrities can convince President Joe Biden to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline, farmers and consumers will pay the price, experts say.
The pipeline was approved by former President Donald Trump in 2017 after being blocked by the Obama administration, during which Biden was vice president.
A letter from more than 200 celebrities and activists has called upon Biden to shut down the pipeline, claiming it harms the environment and negatively impacts the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, according to Fox Business.
The pipeline is currently undergoing an environmental review.
Proud to join up with the Avengers IRL, many amazing artists, & activists to #StandWithStandingRock & call on @POTUS @JoeBiden & @VP @KamalaHarris to shut down the illegal Dakota Access pipeline. It’s time for #ClimateJustice. This is our moment! #NoDAPL https://t.co/GeiShcraTo
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) February 9, 2021
Biden raised hopes among environmentalists when he blocked the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline as one of his first acts in office.
Agricultural economist Elaine Kub said that there are ripple effects to consider, because if oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota ends up being transported by rail instead of by the pipeline, farmers selling their products will suffer.
“If DAPL is shut down and a portion of the crude oil currently transported on the pipeline is shifted to the limited available rail car capacity, I estimate that the agricultural industry would lose more than $1 billion in annual farm revenue across the Corn Belt (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas), while higher transportation costs would simultaneously drive up food costs for consumers,” Kub said in a court filing last spring in defense of the pipeline.
“The revenue losses would force farmers and processors to go out of business, eliminating jobs in the agriculture industry, particularly in the Upper Midwest states (Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota), where rail congestion and delays caused by this increased volume would be most acute,” she wrote.
She then explained why food prices are connected to an oil pipeline.
“If DAPL is shut down, a portion of its crude oil transportation capacity is expected to shift to rail lines that are already constrained,” Kub wrote.
“This increase in the demand for rail transportation of crude oil, even if only a fraction of that transported by DAPL, would cause similar disruptive effects on grain markets in Upper Midwest states.”
“I confidently predict the agricultural industry could lose $1 billion or more in annual revenue if DAPL is no longer in service to prevent rail congestion,” she added.
Moreover, a spokesperson for the American Farm Bureau Federation told Fox Business the group “anticipates increased transportation costs for agriculture as a result of the increased transportation competition between agriculture products and oil.”
Stopping the flow of oil via the Dakota Access Pipeline will “hit the American people directly in the pocketbook,” said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the American Petroleum Institute.
“The fact of the matter is that America needs energy for its everyday standard of living and that energy is going to come from somewhere,” Macchiarola told Fox Business.
“Any efforts to either stifle our infrastructure system or our exploration and production system, all of that accrues to the benefit of someone else, not the American people,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.