Dakota Access Pipeline to continue

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

By: K. William Boyer

DEVILS LAKE - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ has decided to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operations while an environmental impact statement (EIS) is completed.

Governor Doug Burgum praised the decision, saying the Army Corps of Engineers made the right to allow additional time for consultation as requested by MHA Nation and North Dakota’s attorney general before any major decisions are made affecting operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

 “Shutting down this pipeline would put the environment and public safety at greater risk by forcing oil transportation to trucks and rail and would have a devastating effect on our state’s and MHA Nation’s economy, sapping hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from producers, mineral owners, schools and state, tribal and local governments,” he said.

 The governor said shutting the pipeline down would have also sent a, “dangerous signal,” to the capital at a time when Burgum said they are in a period of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure by demonstrating that legally permitted and completed essential infrastructure can be shut down after years of safe operation.

A federal judge sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on July 6 and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down until more environmental review is done.

“This state-of-the-art pipeline is critical to North Dakota’s energy industry and our nation’s energy independence and security, and the Corps should be allowed to complete its consultation without court intervention,” Burgum said.

Senator John Hoeven added to Burgum’s sentiment, saying the pipeline is a vital infrastructure that provides tremendous energy and economic benefits for our state and nation.

“DAPL has safely operated for nearly four years, providing essential access to market for Bakken crude, including substantial oil production from the Fort Berthold Reservation and the Three Affiliated Tribes,” Hoeven said.  “DAPL is key in ensuring our nation’s energy security, which is vital to our national security, and that’s why it should stay in operation.”

Workers unload pipes in Worthing, S.D., in 2015 for the Dakota Access oil pipeline. A federal judge ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on March 25, 2020, to conduct a full environmental review of the pipeline, nearly three years after it began carrying oil.

Hoeven said the pipelines are one of the safest forms of transportation for oil, and the Dakota pipeline was built and operated in good faith under the Army Corps’ permitting process.

“The Corps needs to promptly complete this additional review, and the Court should not rule until meaningful consultation occurs with the Three Affiliated Tribes and the State of North Dakota,” he said.

In February Burgum wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers, urging them to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operating during the EIS review. In his letter he noted that shutting down the safely operating pipeline would weaken U.S. energy security, create more competition for rail access for farmers, and add unnecessary risk for motorists and the environment by putting more truck traffic on roads.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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