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Does the standoff over the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline falsify the Coase Theorem? In any case, we think Ronald Coase’s analysis of property rights on page 25 of his contrarian but essentially correct 1959 FCC paper might be relevant to the conflict over the placement of this pipeline: “Whether a newly discovered cave belongs to the man who discovered it, the man on whose land the entrance to the cave is located, or the man who owns the surface under which the cave is situated is no doubt dependent on the law of property. But the law merely determines the person with whom it is necessary to make a contract to obtain the use of the cave.”