Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Army Corps approved Dakota pipeline despite environmental concerns of three federal agencies

The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers despite environmental objections from three federal agencies, Phil McKenna reports for InsideClimate News. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all "raised serious environmental and safety objections to the North Dakota section of the pipeline, the same objections being voiced in a large protest by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that has so far succeeded in halting construction."
Inside Climate News graphic (click on it to view a larger version)
Native Americans say they fear a leak would harm their main source of water, the Missouri River. While construction has been halted around Cannon Ball, N.D., it continues in other states. The $3.8 billion, 1,150-mile 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.

"Citing risks to water supplies, inadequate emergency preparedness, potential impacts to the Standing Rock reservation and insufficient environmental justice analysis, the agencies urged the Army Corps to issue a revised draft of their environmental assessment," McKenna writes. The Army Corps instead "relied on an environmental assessment prepared by the pipeline's developer, Dakota Access LLC, when it approved the project in July, according to public documents."

"EPA asked the Army Corps to consider 'other available routes or crossing locations that would have reduced potential to water resources, especially drinking water supplies,' and to carry out a 'more thorough' analysis of environmental justice concerns," McKenna writes. "The other agencies also asked for further assessments and consultation with the tribes. The Army Corps instead published its final environmental assessment four months later, which constituted final approval of the project. In it, the Corps acknowledged the agencies' comments, but said 'the anticipated environmental, economic, cultural, and social effects' of the project are 'not injurious to the public interest.'" (Read more)

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