Dakota Access to begin carrying oil between states

Dakota Access to begin carrying oil between states
© Erik Molvar

The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline will start carrying oil between states in mid-May.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company that owns the pipeline, revealed the starting date late Thursday in paperwork filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates interstate energy infrastructure like pipelines.

The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline runs from North Dakota to Illinois. It’s meant to carry crude oil from the Bakken oil formation to existing pipeline systems, for delivery to petroleum refineries.

The May 14 start date will mark a significant turning point for the contentious project.

Developers ran into significant opposition and protests from American Indians and environmentalists last year, who tried to block the final section from being built below North Dakota’s Lake Oahe.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its allies said that even though the pipeline would not be on their reservation, the lake is considered sacred and is used as a drinking water source.

The tribe and others, including the nearby Cheyenne River Sioux, have sought action in the executive branch and the courts to stop the construction and now to stop the oil from flowing.

Former President Obama delayed the Army Corps of Engineers easement for the pipeline’s final segment, but President Trump approved it in March.

The challengers have not had success in the courts yet, but the case is ongoing in the federal District Court for the District of Columbia.