Dakota Pipeline Builder Under Fire For Ohio Spill: 8 Violations In 7 Weeks

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By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – U.S. regulators halted construction at new sites on an Ohio pipeline after several million gallons of drilling mud coated important state wetlands. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, is under fire from federal and state regulators after triggering a massive spill, and seven other violations, during the first seven weeks of construction of a major gas pipeline in Ohio. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Rover pipeline operator ordering it to not start construction on any new locations, as well as to stop construction at the site of the major wetlands spill and to hire an independent contractor to dig into what went wrong there. “Staff has serious concerns regarding the magnitude of the incident (which was several orders of magnitude greater than other documented [horizontal directional drilling] inadvertent returns for this project), its environmental impacts, the lack of clarity regarding the underlying reasons for its occurrence, and the possibility of future problems,” federal regulators wrote. The phrase “inadvertent returns” is industry speak for a certain type of spill or release of construction material.

Dakota Access Pipeline Spills At South Dakota Pump Station

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By Staff of Unicorn Riot – Spink County, SD – Officials have provided public notice of a leak of oil from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) which occurred over a month ago. On April 4, 84 gallons of oil (roughly equivalent to two barrels) leaked at a pipeline pump station in a rural area near Crandon, South Dakota, according to the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ground Water Quality Program. The Dakota Access Pipeline is not yet operational but company officials claim it will go online June 1. The Dakota Access Pipeline faced massive opposition in North Dakota, where it’s route goes underneath the Missouri River about a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. Indigenous water protectors have repeatedly cited the threat to clean drinking water posed by a potential pipeline leak as well as a lack of consent from affected tribes, among their motivations for fighting the pipeline. “These spills are going to be nonstop,” Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault told ABC news. “With 1,200 miles of pipeline, spills are going to happen. Nobody listened to us. Nobody wants to listen, because they’re driven by money and greed.”

Dakota Pipeline Is Ready for Oil, Without Spill Response Plan For Standing Rock

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By Phil Mckenna for Inside Climate News – Without a complete emergency plan or equipment, a spill at the Missouri River crossing could cause tremendous damage to the environment and the tribe’s water. Oil is set to flow through the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, but there is still no oil spill response plan in place for the section of pipe that crosses the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock reservation. The company won’t be required to have emergency response cleanup equipment stored near the river crossing for another year, either. The lack of rigorous safety measures for the crude oil pipeline is raising concerns from lawyers and pipeline consultants for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose protests and legal fight against the Dakota Access pipeline became a flashpoint for environmental justice and indigenous rights last year. Despite the prolonged resistance, the pipeline is scheduled to begin operating on June 1 after President Donald Trump issued an order expediting its approval. Dakota Access LLC, the company building the pipeline, is required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to submit a general emergency plan for the entire half-million-barrel-a-day project before oil shipments begin.

In Heat Of Dakota Access Protests, National Sheriffs' Association Lobbied For More Military Gear

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By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – At the end of 2016, as a mix of sheriffs, police, and private security forces were clashing with those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the National Sheriffs’ Association was lobbying Congress for surplus military gear and on undisclosed issues related to the now-operating oil pipeline. This information comes from federal lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by DeSmog. The National Sheriffs’ Association, a trade association representing sheriffs’ departments nationwide, hired the firm Ervin Hill Strategy to lobby on its behalf during quarter four of 2016 and quarter one of 2017. Lobbyist and former congressional staffer John Blount was assigned to the cause. Blount did not respond to a request for comment for this story. The multi-state policing response at Standing Rock came under sharp criticism due to its highly militarized nature against the Native American-led opposition. Spurred by the North Dakota governor’s emergency declaration, law enforcement officials nationwide began pouring into North Dakota under the auspices of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

Dakota Access Pipeline Now Has Oil Beneath Missouri River

Native American protesters and their supporters are confronted by security during a demonstration against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, September 3, 2016. Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

By Staff of NBC News – The Dakota Access pipeline developer said Monday that it has placed oil in the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and that it’s preparing to put the pipeline into service. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a brief court filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The announcement marks a significant development in the long battle over the project that will move North Dakota oil 2,000 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline is three months behind schedule due to large protests and the objections of two American Indian tribes who say it threatens their water supply and cultural sites. ETP’s filing did not say when the company expected the pipeline to be completely operating, and a spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking additional details. “Oil has been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath Lake Oahe. Dakota Access is currently commissioning the full pipeline and is preparing to place the pipeline into service,” the filing stated. Despite the announcement, the battle isn’t over. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes still have an unresolved lawsuit that seeks to stop the project.

Protesters Ready To Block Southern End Of Dakota Access Pipeline

The Morganza Spillway, which allows water from the Mississippi River to divert into the Atchafalaya Basin, is seen from the air in Morganza, La., on May 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

By Karl Herchenroeder for PJ Media – Protesters in Louisiana say they are ready to put their “bodies on the line” if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves construction of Energy Transfer Partners’ Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s network. “If the permits get issued and it’s a ‘yes,’ then we’re going to do whatever it is we have to do to protect our wetlands, to protect our families from this company and from this particular project,” Cherri Foytlin, director of the activist group Bold Louisiana, told PJM in an interview last week. “If we have to put our bodies on the line, we’ll do that.” The $670 million, 160-mile pipeline would run through 11 Louisiana parishes encompassing the Atchafalaya Basin, which is the largest wetland and swamp in the country. The pipeline would allow transport of oil and gas from North Dakota to refineries in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast, while also providing access to a major hub in Texas. The Atchafalaya Basin is already home to a series of pipelines serving oil and gas companies that employ more than 64,000 people in the state, according to the Times-Picayune.

Dakota Access Pipeline Sabotaged In Several States

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By Staff of Unicorn Riot – Authorities in South Dakota and Iowa confirmed Tuesday that someone apparently used a torch to burn a hole through empty sections of the pipeline at aboveground shut-off valve sites. Mahaska County Sheriff Russell Van Renterghem said the culprit in Iowa appeared to have gotten under a fence around the facility, but Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Brown said the site in South Dakota wasn’t fenced. The Iowa incident was discovered March 13 and the South Dakota incident Friday [March 17]. Pipeline operators are asked to report security breaches to the National Response Center. Data on the center’s website show no reports from ETP this month.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised… But It Will Be Livestreamed

PHOTO BY MICHAEL NIGRO. On February 22, 2017, various law enforcement agencies blocked access to the media staging area and threatened all who remained on the road, including journalists, with arrest.

By Michael Negro for The Huffington Post – Everyone knew that in less than 24 hours the camp was scheduled to be raided by a militarized force, which consisted of local, state and federal police departments, Homeland Security, the National Guard, the Bureau of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, reportedly, the NSA, among other law enforcement agencies. For days, few corporate media outlets had been seen near the camp making it all the more important for the independent and citizen journalists to report and document and witness what was an eventuality: the violent destruction of the camp. In a mere 10 months, Standing Rock came to symbolize so much more than a pipeline fight.

Dakota Oil Pipeline Opponents Fail Again To Halt Project

A demonstrator dances in front of the White House during a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

By Andrew M Harri for Bloomberg – Energy Transfer Partners LP cleared another legal hurdle with oil soon to flow through the Dakota Access pipeline. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington rejected a Native American tribe’s request to put the project on pause while it asks an appeals court to block it. Last week, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the tribe waited too long to argue that the conduit threatened to make lake water impure and unsuitable for their religious practices. Attorneys for the ETP-led Dakota Access LLC consortium building the pipeline told the court Monday that oil could be introduced as soon as March 20. The 1,172-mile pipe will carry crude from shale oil-rich northwestern North Dakota to a terminal in Patoka, Illinois.

Dakota Access Pipeline Lawsuit Denied, Construction Continues

In this Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 photo, Grandma Redfeather of the Sioux Native American tribe sits in her yurt at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D. (Source: AP Photo/David Goldman)

By Blake Nicholson for Associated Press – BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A federal judge declined Tuesday to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, clearing the way for oil to flow as soon as next week. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes pledged to continue their legal fight against the project, even after the pipeline begins operating. The tribes had asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota…

Memos Reveal Army Corps Knows Dakota Access Pipeline Violates Legal Requirement

The Sioux tribe objecting to the Dakota Access pipeline had their concerns echoed by several federal agencies, but those concerns were dismissed in the pipeline's approval. Credit Getty Images

By Michael J. Sainato for Counter Punch – On March 3, MinnPost reported that four memos were pulled from the Department of the Interior website on the Army Corps of Engineers after Donald Trump took office, citing their removal signifies, “an attempt to make opaque some serious shortcomings in the Corps’ performance on DAPL that are little known and less understood.” The Dakota Access Pipeline, enabled by Barack Obama signing a bill in 2015 to lift a ban on U.S. Oil exports creating the demand for domestic pipelines to be built for oil export, emerged as a movement for indigenous rights and environmentalism, as camps close to where the pipeline is being constructed under Lake Oahe in North Dakota swelled with water protectors trying to halt its construction in 2016

Memos Reveal Army Corps Knows Dakota Access Pipeline Violates Legal Requirement

Native American and other activists have protested the Dakota Access oil pipeline for months near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, even as blizzards have gripped the area. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Michael J. Sainato for Counter Punch – On March 3, MinnPost reported that four memos were pulled from the Department of the Interior website on the Army Corps of Engineers after Donald Trump took office, citing their removal signifies, “an attempt to make opaque some serious shortcomings in the Corps’ performance on DAPL that are little known and less understood.” The Dakota Access Pipeline, enabled by Barack Obama signing a bill in 2015 to lift a ban on U.S. Oil exports creating the demand for domestic pipelines to be built for oil export, emerged as a movement for indigenous rights and environmentalism

Standing Rock Tribe Prepares Legal Fight As Dakota Oil Pipeline Gets Final Approval

Native American and other activists have protested the Dakota Access oil pipeline for months near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation around Cannon Ball, North Dakota, even as blizzards have gripped the area. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Phil Mckenna for Inside Climate News – The Army Corps of Engineers granted a final easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline late Wednesday. The action overturned an earlier ruling by the Army Corps to halt construction until it conducted a more complete environmental assessment of the project’s Missouri River crossing. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is a half-mile downstream from the crossing, says the pipeline threatens its water supply and sacred sites. Its opposition triggered months of protests. An environmental impact review initiated by the Army Corps in the final weeks of the Obama administration could have delayed the project for years. That review is now canceled.

Seattle Just Divested Billions From Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline

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By J. Gabriel WareJames Trimarco for Yes! Magazine – The movement to stop the controversial Dakota Access pipeline through financial activism took an important step forward today, as the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to approve a bill that terminates a valuable city contract with Wells Fargo. The bank, one of the largest in the United States, has provided more than $450 million in credit to the companies building the pipeline. The move makes Seattle the first city to divest from a financial institution because of its role in the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion project that would run from western North Dakota to Illinois, and is fiercely opposed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Wells Fargo is one of 17 banks directly financing the project.

Media Silence After Water Protectors And Police Clash On MLK Day

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By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change – The National Guard and Morton County Sheriff’s Department violently clashed with protesters on a day we are supposed to remember a man who dedicated his life to non-violence. On Martin Luther King day this past Monday, officials fired less-than-lethal projectiles and pepper spray at water protectors and arrested three for trespassing. 200 people marched on the Dakota Access Pipeline horizontal drill pad. According to the Morton County Sheriff Department, the three individuals (who have not yet been named) that were arrested are charged with criminal trespassing onto private property, inciting a riot and resisting arrest.