Archive for Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dakota Access CEO: Company committed to finishing pipeline

This graphic shows the route of the Dakota Access pipeline from Illinois to North Dakota.

This graphic shows the route of the Dakota Access pipeline from Illinois to North Dakota.

September 13, 2016, 9:51 a.m. Updated September 13, 2016, 3:18 p.m.


— The head of a Texas company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline told employees Tuesday that it is committed to the project despite strong opposition and a federal order to voluntarily halt construction near an American Indian reservation in North Dakota.

The memo to employees, which was also released to some media outlets, is the first time in months the company has provided significant details of the four-state, 1,172-mile (1886 km) project.

It came the same day as a planned "day of action" in cities around the U.S. and in other countries. Authorities also arrested several people for interfering with construction on the pipeline about 70 miles (113 km) northwest of the main protest site near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren told employee the pipeline is nearly 60 percent complete and that "concerns about the pipeline's impact on the local water supply are unfounded." The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others argue the project will impact drinking water for thousands of tribal members and millions downstream.

"I am confident that as long as the government ultimately decides the fate of the project based on science and engineering, the Dakota Access Pipeline will become operational ... So we will continue to obey the rules and trust the process," he wrote.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said he and the thousands of others who have gathered at an encampment in southern North Dakota to protest won't budge.

"People are still coming down here and are committed to stopping the project," he said.

The tribe is challenging the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant about 200 permits at water crossings for pipeline, which goes through the Dakotas and Iowa to Illinois. The tribe says the project will disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water. Energy Transfer Partners disputes those claims, saying the pipeline would include safeguards and that workers monitoring the pipeline remotely could close valves within three minutes if a breach is detected.

"We have designed the state-of-the-art Dakota Access pipeline as a safer and more efficient method of transporting crude oil than the alternatives being used today," his memo said.

The tribe's effort to temporarily block construction near its reservation was denied by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Friday. But minutes later, federal officials ordered a temporary halt to construction on Army Corps land around and underneath Lake Oahe — one of six reservoirs on the Missouri River. Three federal agencies also asked ETP for a "voluntary pause" in work for 20 miles (32 km) on either side of Lake Oahe.

ETP removed about 30 pieces of damaged or vandalized construction equipment from the area near the protest site Tuesday, according to Morton County Sheriff's Department spokesman Rob Keller. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it has halted construction in that section or is backing down on its plans to build the pipeline, but has said construction continues elsewhere.

About 70 miles (113 km) northwest of the protest site, which is close to the disputed section, protesters "swarmed" construction workers and two people chained themselves to equipment, according to Morton County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey. She did not know how many people were arrested and what charges they might face.

Warren's memo also noted that because of what it called "misinformation" in the news, the company is working to "communicate with the government and media more clearly in the days to come."

Warren said the company had consulted with more than 55 tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux, and added that ETP values and respects "cultural diversity and the significant role that Native American culture plays in our nation's history and its future and hope to be able to strengthen our relationship with the Native American communities as we move forward with this project."

Archambault said the consultations were one-sided and that "they met with us after their plans were already made."


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 6 months ago

So what they are saying is that they don't give a damn about how people feel about it or what impact it may have on the environment, they're going to cram it down the throats of people anyway and they will use imminent domain to make SURE it gets built. My language at this point isn't fit for public consumption.

Sam Crow 1 year, 6 months ago

They must not a have received the letter from the Lawrence City Commission yet

Barbara Johnston 1 year, 6 months ago

The company says the pipeline is safe, there will be no spills. How many oil spills have we heard about over the past ten years? Several dozen at least. And the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is a sovereign nation, as other American Indian First Nations are, and should be able to negotiate without a threat of company invasion.

Pete Kennamore 1 year, 6 months ago

The pipeline does NOT cross tribal land so I see no reason the Sioux have any say in the matter.

Bob Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

"...How many oil spills have we heard about over the past ten years? Several dozen at least..." Can you give us citations of at least three dozen documented spills?

Bob Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

I count less than twenty spills in the USA in the past ten years on that list.

Mike Ford 1 year, 6 months ago

Run over rights and laws just like what was done with the SLT. The religion of capitalism and pavement wins.

Bob Smith 1 year, 6 months ago

The construction company has moved the planned line of construction more than 140 times so far. "...In North Dakota, for example, the cultural surveys found 149 potentially eligible sites, 91 of which had stone features. The pipeline workspace and route was modified to avoid all 91 of these stone features and all but 9 of the other potentially eligible sites. By the time the company finally settled on a construction path, then, the pipeline route had been modified 140 times in North Dakota alone to avoid potential cultural resources. Plans had also been put in place to mitigate any effects on the other 9 sites through coordination with the North Dakota SHPO.

The company also opted to build its new pipeline along well-trodden ground wherever feasible. See ECF No. 22-1 (Declaration of Joey Mahmoud), Around Lake Oahe, for example, the pipeline will track both the Northern Border Gas Pipeline, which was placed into service in 1982, and an existing overhead utility line. In fact, where it crosses Lake Oahe, DAPL is 100% adjacent to, and within 22 to 300 feet from, the existing pipeline. Dakota Access chose this route because these locations had “been disturbed in the past – both14 above and below ground level – making it a ‘brownfield crossing location.’” This made it less likely, then, that new ground disturbances would harm intact cultural or tribal features..."

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 6 months ago

If someone wants to protest the pipeline because of concerns regarding water resources, fine.

But let's stop the sacred land BS. The Sioux took that land from the Cheyenne. The Cheyenne took the land from the Kiowa. And the taking wasn't peaceful.

Maddy Griffin 1 year, 6 months ago

So, one tribe took it from another. Does that make it any less Native Land? When will we honor the treaties that were made? And when will we honor people over greed?

Mike Ford 1 year, 6 months ago

North Dakota is historically home to Pembina Ojibwe, Cree, Metis,Mandan, Cheyenne, Hidatsa,Arikira,Lakota,Dakota,and maybe Assiniboine would be hard to find an area where tribal cultural sites aren't. Kiowa,Comanche,and Cheyenne people were ran out of Paha Sapa by Lakota back then. When colonists invade a country there are consequences.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 6 months ago

Here's a pipeline leak reported on September 9 in the southeast U.S.

"Colonial Pipeline said 6,000 barrels of gasoline were accidentally released on Sept. 9 from a pipeline that ferries the commodity from Gulf Coast refineries to refineries on the Eastern seaboard." - USA Today

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