To hear the protesters near Standing Rock Reservation talking about their actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline, you would think oil is something we can live without as a society. That is not the case.

After all, the protesters themselves use plenty of oil-based products.

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From the tents they sleep in, to the markers they use to write their slogans, to the plastic water bottles they use to hydrate themselves (which is strained though petroleum-based filtration systems), the protestors are examples of just how fundamental petroleum is to our daily lives.

Conversely, these examples highlight the lack of ideas that the protestors and the organizations behind them have for America's energy future.

These organizations, such as Earthjustice, which is suing the company constructing Dakota Access, are not interested in being responsible stakeholders. Instead, as is written on Earthjustice's website, they target and block development of every stage of the life cycle of traditional energy.

The truth is, we need hydrocarbons such as petroleum. Pretty much any modern invention, device or tool traces its development to hydrocarbons.

The protesters at Standing Rock and those backing them should be honest with the American people about the real costs of blocking the development of projects like Dakota Access. These types of projects are a vital link in our national energy infrastructure grid that let us lead the lives we want.

Brian Ensrud

Tioga, N.D.