Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Corps to green-light Dakota Access Pipeline

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected, possibly as soon as this afternoon, to issue a final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, Caroline Grueskin reports for The Bismarck Tribune. "The decision comes two weeks after President Donald Trump asked federal agencies to speed up their review of the crude oil pipeline that tribal and environmental activists have protested for months."

Douglas Lamont, a senior official performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the army (Civil Works) said in a court filing that "he reviewed all the corps study of the pipeline and decided the easement was warranted," Grueskin writes. "Lamont said his analysis justified reversing an earlier decision made under the Obama administration to explore alternative routes and conduct a full environmental impact statement. A notice terminating the study will be published in the Federal Register, according to filings in the federal court case between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the corps." The Standing Rock Sioux tribe said it would fight the decision in court.

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. Standing Rock Sioux have protested the pipeline around Cannon Ball, N.D., citing concern that a spill could contaminate the Missouri River, their main source of water.

The Corps also said it was waiving the two-week waiting period typically required following congressional notification before construction begins, Ellen M. Gilmer and Hannah Northey report for Greenwire. That means that Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company building the oil pipeline, would not not need any additional federal approvals to begin construction. 

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