Hoeven presses corps to support continued operation of Dakota Access Pipeline

Alex Finken
Office of John Hoven
Crews work on installing the Dakota Access Pipeline near Williston, N.D., on July 29, 2016. Forum News Service file photo

Senator John Hoeven this week pressed Brigadier General Peter Helmlinger, Commander of the Northwestern Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to help ensure the continued operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The senator stressed the impact a shutdown would have on the State of North Dakota and the Three Affiliated Tribes, which rely on DAPL for the safe and efficient transportation of Bakken crude to market.

Today’s conversation builds on Hoeven’s recent efforts to maintain the operation of DAPL. This includes the senator hand-delivering to President Biden letters from Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, emphasizing the need to keep DAPL operational while the Army Corps of Engineers completes its court-ordered review. The senator has also repeatedly spoken with Army Corps Chief Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon to help ensure the federal court allows adequate time for tribal and state consultation and to help prevent a shutdown of DAPL.

“Our efforts are about ensuring the Army Corps’ leadership understands the vital importance of DAPL, not only to North Dakota and the Three Affiliated Tribes, but to the energy independence of our entire country,” said Hoeven. “Energy security is national security, and we need infrastructure like DAPL to safely and efficiently transport energy to market. That’s why we continue to urge officials like BG Helmlinger and LTG Spellmon to help prevent a shutdown of this critical energy infrastructure.”

In addition to DAPL, Hoeven advance the following priorities with BG Helmlinger:

·       Ensuring water supply contracts are as simple as possible to obtain.

o   The Corps is currently working to update and streamline its application process for water supply contracts.

o   Hoeven has worked to ensure adequate water supplies for North Dakota’s communities.

o   Congress also recently passed a four-year extension of a provision Hoeven originally secured in 2014 that prohibits the Army Corps from charging storage fees for water drawn from the Missouri River.

·       Urging the Corps to put the Pipestem Dam safety modification project in its annual budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and ensure it proceeds on schedule.

o   Hoeven recently announced that the Corps’ FY21 work plan included $40 million to initiate the Pipestem Dam project.

·       Upgrading and maintaining the Corps’ recreation areas at Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe.

o   Hoeven previously secured language in FY20 funding legislation directing the Corps to work with local stakeholders on a plan to restore and maintain recreational facilities near Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe.