Army Corps Gives Dakota Access Green Light


The Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday (Feb. 7) that it would approve an easement that will allow the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile underground pipeline that will move crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.

Dakota Access had been stalled after a December 2016 decision from the Corps that it would not allow the easement, for construction of the 30-inch pipeline underneath the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. The pipeline became a point of contention among environmental and Native American activists, who sought to stop the construction, which they said was too close to the water source for the Standing Rock Reservation.

Trump Administration Stance

The new approval came two weeks after President Donald J. Trump issued a series of memoranda, one of which specifically asked the Corps to expedite a review of the easement ruling. Also included among the memos was an invitation for TransCanada to re-submit its plans for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was rejected in 2015 by the Obama administration. Another memo called for new pipelines being built in the U.S. to be made of American materials as much as possible.

Dakota Access route
Energy Transfer Partners

Dakota Access is a 1,172-mile underground pipeline that will move crude oil from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois.

Dakota Access is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, a partnership that has a number of subsidiaries and owns Sunoco Logistics, the owner of a number of oil and gas pipelines throughout the U.S.

The Washington Post reports that the pipeline could be operational 60 to 80 days after construction at Lake Oahe begins. Construction can start as soon as the easement is officially granted, which could be this week.

Dakota Access water crossings have been installed via horizontal directional drilling; Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will be buried 95 to 115 feet below the blottom of Lake Oahe.

Dakota Delays

Earlier in 2016, Dakota Access hit a temporary delay when Sioux leaders suggested part of the pipeline route crossed through ancient burial lands. Iowa officials halted work in late May, but the state’s archaeologist said that the underground boring would not pose a significant disruption, and construction was back on by late June.

According to Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline is being constructed of “heavy-walled steel pipe that is nearly 50 percent thicker than required by law,” will be monitored remotely at all times, and will be regularly patrolled and inspected by air to ensure safety.


Tagged categories: Government; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; President Trump; Program/Project Management; Regulations; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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