Quantcast

Dakota Access Pipeline Company Misses Deadline to Plant 20,000 Trees Along Pipeline Route

Protesters walk along land being prepared for the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota on Sept. 3, 2016. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, has missed its 2018 deadline to plant tens of thousands of trees along the pipeline's route, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The company was supposed to plant 20,000 trees along the pipeline's 359-mile route through North Dakota by the end of 2018, as per the terms of a September 2017 settlement with North Dakota's Public Service Commission. So far, it has planted only around 8,800.


The settlement came about because of two major complaints, The Associated Press reported in 2017:

  1. Energy Transfer Partners failed to adequately report the discovery of Native American artifacts along its route. The artifacts were not disturbed, but the company did not get permission from the commission for a route change.
  2. Regulators were concerned that the company had disturbed too many trees and improperly removed soil while laying pipe.

In the settlement, Energy Transfer Partners agreed to plant trees in soil conservation districts along the route and help write a "how-to" manual for handling the discovery of artifacts, but it did not have to pay a $15,000 fine or payment, as regulators originally proposed.

"This really is not as much about the monetary amount as it is about awareness and influencing future behavior," Commissioner Brian Kroshus said at the time.

Now, Energy Transfer Partners is relying on a provision in the settlement allowing it more time to plant the trees if it encounters difficulties. Perennial Environmental Services, the company Energy Transfer Partners hired to manage the tree planting, said it had run into the following problems:

  • Equipment and staffing problems
  • Poor conditions for planting
  • A lack of landlords willing to have trees planted on their land
  • An incident in which one soil conservation district refused any plantings because it didn't think the 15 tree species listed in the settlement were appropriate for the area

Perennial Environmental Services said soil conservation districts in six counties had committed to planting 16,800 trees in 2019 for a total of more than 25,500. Commission officials were not available for comment on whether or not they thought the delay was justified, The Associated Press reported.

The Dakota Access Pipeline sparked massive protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their allies over concerns it would threaten the tribe's drinking water. The protests seemed to have been successful when the administration of former President Barack Obama denied a key permit for the project towards the end of 2016, but President Donald Trump signed an executive order greenlighting the pipeline early in his term.

Oil began flowing through the pipeline in June of 2017, which was projected to move around 520,000 barrels of oil a day along more than 1,000 miles through North Dakota to Illinois, NPR reported at the time.


Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

In tea, food, or just on your windowsill, embrace the fragrance and fantastic healing potential of herbs.

Read More Show Less

By Ana Santos Rutschman

The world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigned and will step down in early April. His temporary replacement is Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
MartinPrescott / iStock / Getty Images

On Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first 20 chemicals it plans to prioritize as "high priority" for assessment under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Given the EPA's record of malfeasance on chemicals policy over the past two years, it is clear that these are chemicals that EPA is prioritizing to ensure that they are not properly evaluated or regulated.

Read More Show Less
Strawberries top the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of U.S. produce most contaminated with pesticides. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images

Which conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are most contaminated with pesticides? That's the question that the Environmental Working Group answers every year with its "Dirty Dozen" list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled.

Read More Show Less
A drilling rig in a Wyoming natural gas field. William Campbell / Corbis via Getty Images

A U.S. federal judge temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal leases in Wyoming Tuesday, arguing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "did not sufficiently consider climate change" when auctioning off the land, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mizina / iStock / Getty Images

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD

Oats are widely regarded as one of the healthiest grains you can eat, as they're packed with many important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Read More Show Less
JPMorgan Chase building in New York City. Ben Sutherland / CC BY 2.0

By Sharon Kelly

A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Sriram Madhusoodanan of Corporate Accountability speaking on conflict of interest demand of the People's Demands at a defining action launching the Demands at COP24. Corporate Accountability

By Patti Lynn

2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."

Read More Show Less