Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, has received the final permits to implement a new pipeline – almost the size of Keystone XL – on private, state and federal lands between Bakken, North Dakota and Patoka, Illinois.
Once operational, the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (AKA the Bakken Pipeline) will transport as much as 570,000 barrels of “domestically produced light sweet crude oil” every day.
The pipeline is scheduled to pass through protected and indigenous lands and critical water supplies like the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
Advocates for the environment, climate conscious development and historical preservation in opposition of the pipeline say that, despite a $25 million insurance policy intended to cover leaks and spills, a disaster “could inflict serious damage to farmland, rivers and streams, and wildlife” and the policy is not enough to cover the full spectrum of risk.
Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Dakota Access the last set of permits required to build on federal lands.
In response to the Corps’ approval, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the government body accusing them of violating the National Historic Preservation Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and more.
“The construction and operation of the pipeline…threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe,” argues the tribe.
A coalition of private landowners in Iowa also filed lawsuits in opposition of the pipeline claiming that the Iowa Utilities Board unlawfully granted Dakota Access the right to seize private property under eminent domain, which is strictly reserved for the government, and the pipeline doesn’t provide any public benefit.
Despite the pending court cases, the oil company has already begun building the pipeline and plans to begin operation in the last quarter of this year.