Due to Trump support, DAPL and Keystone XL Pipeline on track to be completed
Protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Keystone XL Pipeline, and the media attention they have drummed up, have put a spotlight on the heart of the United States. The battle over land, water and oil has been extremely polarizing for folks on both sides of the issue. With many delays in pipeline construction over the last several months, leaving parts of rural America in chaos, many are left to wonder, what is the status of these two pipelines?
With President Donald J. Trump now leading the nation, these two pipelines have once again been given a green light.
“We have started the drill to go beneath Lake Oahe and expect to be completed in 60 days with another 23 days to fill the line to Patoka,” said Vicki Granada in an interview on Feb. 9, 2017. xzXGranada spearheads media relations for Energy Transfer Partners, the oil company responsible for DAPL. “We look forward to having the pipeline in service in approximately 83 days.”
On Feb. 8, Energy Transfer Partners announced that DAPL had received an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a pipeline across land owned by the Army Corps on both sides of Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
According to the announcement, “The release of this easement by the Army Corps follows a directive from President Donald Trump to the Department of the Army and the Army Corps to take all necessary and appropriate steps that would permit construction and operation of the Dakota Access pipeline, including easements to cross federal lands. With this action, Dakota Access now has received all federal authorizations necessary to proceed expeditiously to complete construction of the pipeline.”
Energy Transfer Partners says the DAPL pipeline consists of approximately 1,172 miles of new 30-inch diameter crude oil pipeline that will run from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. This pipeline will meet up with an existing 700-mile pipeline that runs from Patoka to Nederland, Texas. The two pipelines, once connected, will be called the “Bakken Pipeline,” and are expected to be in service in the second quarter of 2017.
“This decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a step toward the closure necessary for pipeline construction,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “If protestors continue to take unlawful actions in response to the Corps’ decision, law enforcement will be forced to continue to put themselves in harm’s way to enforce the rule of law. Our hope is that the new administration in Washington will now provide North Dakota law enforcement the necessary resources to bring closure to the protests. This has never been about the pipeline or the protests. This has always been about the rule of law, protecting both residents and peaceful protestors from criminal elements that have significantly harmed people and property – all with very little assistance from the federal government in the last administration.”
Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz added, “The last administration in Washington decided against granting an easement to DAPL even through the career experts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended approval and a federal court denied a request to stop it. And they refused to give North Dakota law enforcement the much needed resources to deal with professional protestors who have assaulted police officers, bullied residents, killed livestock, and angered the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for treating their land with disrespect. But today’s decision from the Corps shows that this new administration will not politically meddle in a thorough review of a project that will have an enormous positive effect on the economy and public safety in our area. With professional protestors continuing to engage in criminal activities, we have new hope that we didn’t have before: an administration that will help law enforcement provide public safety for the citizens of Morton County instead of turning their backs on them.”
Meanwhile, Terry Cunha, who handles media inquiries for TransCanada, the energy company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, says construction is pending certain permits.
“Construction of the proposed project is expected to start after the remaining outstanding permits, including the Presidential Permit, are issued,” said Cunha. “As a result, the project is planned to be placed into service within two years of the start of construction.”
As of Jan. 26, TransCanada had applied for the Presidential Permit with the U.S. Department of States, which would approve the project.
“This privately funded infrastructure project will help meet America’s growing energy needs as well as create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and generate substantial economic benefit throughout the U.S. and Canada,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “”Keystone XL will strengthen the United States’ energy security and remains in the national interest. The project is an important new piece of modern U.S. infrastructure that secures access to an abundant energy resource produced by a neighbor that shares a commitment to a clean and healthy environment. Numerous studies have shown that pipelines are a safer and more environmentally sound way to transport oil to market than trains and KXL raises the bar on both fronts.”
South Dakota Senator John Thune has been a big supporter of these energy projects. Following President Trump’s administrative action to move the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines forward, Thune said, “For eight years, former President Obama impeded progress on the Keystone XL pipeline, and in the process crushed thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic investments. President Trump has taken quick action to free up employment and economic opportunities by making it easier to complete these shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Moving forward on these pipeline projects, particularly the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, provides a preview of good things to come for the American people.”
The energy companies must work with state governments and local residents in order to complete the projects.
“South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission (SDPUC) granted a permit to construct to the Dakota Access Pipeline through South Dakota in December of 2015,” said Kristie Fiegen, SDPUC chairperson. “Since that time, the company has completed construction of the pipeline in this state and is now in the process of returning the land to its previous condition. The third party monitor and the public liaison appointed by the PUC filed periodic reports in the docket, which you may access on our website.”
The reports provide information on the status of the pipeline in South Dakota and can be found here: http://www.puc.sd.gov/Dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2014/hp14-002.aspx.
“TransCanada was granted a permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline through South Dakota in 2010,” said Fiegen. “Because construction had not begun, the company came back to the commission in 2014, to request certification. Certification was granted in January of 2016.”
To review the docket, check out: http://www.puc.sd.gov/Dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2014/hp14-001.aspx.
“Like Dakota Access, Keystone XL must file periodic reports, the most recent of which was filed on January 31 of this year,” said Fiegen. This latest report can be accessed at http://www.puc.sd.gov/Dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2009/hp09-001.aspx.