Quantcast

Standing Rock Sioux Say Proposed DAPL Expansion Will Increase Spill Risk

Energy
The Dakota Access pipeline being built in Iowa. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

The fight between the Standing Rock Sioux and the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline is back on, as the tribe opposes a pipeline expansion that it argues would increase the risk of an oil spill.


The two sides made their cases at a hearing before the North Dakota Public Service Commission in Linton, North Dakota Wednesday, as Reuters reported. Dakota Access LLC is seeking permission to build a pump station that would up the pipeline's capacity from 570,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.1 million bpd.

"The DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) capacity expansion will increase both the likelihood and the severity of spill incidents, and Dakota Access has failed to provide the commission with critical information necessary to properly evaluate the magnitude of those increased risks," the Standing Rock Sioux wrote in a Nov. 8 brief to the commission reported by Reuters.

The Standing Rock Sioux opposed the initial construction of the pipeline because it passes beneath the Missouri River, which they use for water, at a point just north of their reservation, an Associated Press story published by Minnesota Public Radio explained. Protests against the pipeline led to hundreds of arrests in 2016 and 2017.

The proposed expansion would increase the flow of oil through the pipe to 15 feet per second, a speed that would increase the risk of a "worst case" spill, according to Earthjustice.

"I'm here because they want to double the risk of a spill," Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Joye Braun, who helped lead the protests in 2016 and 2017, told the Associated Press at Wednesday's hearing.

Energy Transfer, the Texas-based company that owns the pipeline, claimed that the expansion would not increase the risk of a spill.

"I assure the commission we plan to cut no corners on this work," Chuck Frey, Energy Transfer vice president of engineering, said at the hearing.

The company says the expansion is needed to move increased output from the Bakken shale, Reuters explained. Construction of the pump station would begin in spring of 2020 and take up to 10 months.

The 1,172 mile pipeline carries oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a terminal in Illinois. Energy Transfer is also seeking permission to build pumping stations in South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, according to the Associated Press. Regulators in South Dakota have granted the pipeline a conditional use permit to build a pumping station.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith told the Associated Press that he did not believe the expansion would not increase risk.

"There are no guarantees for anything," Faith said. "I'm telling everybody to stay strong and let the process handle itself. I feel positive."

The hearing comes about two weeks after another pipeline caused a spill in North Dakota: TC Energy's Keystone Pipeline spilled 383,000 gallons of crude in late October.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Ocean pollution concept with plastic and garbage. Anton Petrus / Moment / Getty Images

Nestlé cannot claim that its Ice Mountain bottled water brand is an essential public service, according to Michigan's second highest court, which delivered a legal blow to the food and beverage giant in a unanimous decision.

Read More Show Less

A number of supermarkets across the country have voluntarily issued a recall on sushi, salads and spring rolls distributed by Fuji Food Products due to a possible listeria contamination, as CBS News reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Birds eye view of beach in Green Bowl Beach, Indonesia pictured above, a country who's capital city is faced with the daunting task of moving its capital city of Jakarta because of sea level rise. Tadyanehondo / Unsplash

If you read a lot of news about the climate crisis, you probably have encountered lots of numbers: We can save hundreds of millions of people from poverty by 2050 by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but policies currently in place put us on track for a more than three degree increase; sea levels could rise three feet by 2100 if emissions aren't reduced.

Read More Show Less
A U.S. Border Patrol agent gathers personal effects from immigrants before they are transferred to a McAllen processing center on July 02, 2019 in Los Ebanos, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.

Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.

"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."

Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.

"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."

So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.

"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."

So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.

Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

Chris Pratt arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Chris Pratt was called out on social media by Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa after Pratt posted an image "low key flexing" with a single-use plastic water bottle.

Read More Show Less