Monday, September 12, 2016

Feds hold up Dakota Access Pipeline construction

The Obama administration has put a temporary halt to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of the Interior released a joint statement Friday saying "it would not grant a permit for a key portion of the project near Sioux land until further, extensive review." The statement came "shortly after a federal district court refused to grant an injunction to block the pipeline," Phil McKenna reports for InsideClimate News.

"The administration also said it would reassess how tribal input is taken into account in similar project reviews, and whether the whole approval process needs a comprehensive overhaul," McKenna writes. Construction had been halted in North Dakota due to protests from Native American tribes who said a leak could damage their main source of water, the Missouri River. The $3.8 billion, 1,150-mile Dakota Access pipeline is expected to carry as much as 570,000 barrels of Bakken Formation crude from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.

The statement said construction of the pipeline on Native American land would he halted, "until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.'"

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, said in a statement: "We are disappointed with the . . . decision to intervene in this lawfully approved project and continue to postpone the construction of this infrastructure that is so vital to our nation's energy future. For too long, this project has been mired in a campaign of misinformation and violence that does not consider the greater interests of national security and the state and nation's economic prosperity. We regret that this decision, which is yet another flagrant overreach by federal government and this administration, will only allow this rancor to continue and result in more trucks and rail cars moving oil." (Read more)

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