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The Dakota Access Pipeline could begin operations as early as next month as construction runs ahead of schedule and newly inaugurated President Donald Trump facilitates the removal of administrative obstacles to its launch.
In a court-ordered status report, Energy Transfer Partners, one of the company’s constructing the pipeline, said the last 1,100-foot piece of the project is nearly completed and would be ready to install soon.
“Dakota Access reports that the pilot hole is complete,” said the report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, according to The Washington Times. “The company is currently reaming the hole — i.e., making it larger in order to accept the pipe. As of now, Dakota Access estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017 and April 1, 2017.”
The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux have both filed lawsuits to force the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an in-depth environmental impact study – which the corps had agreed to do under President Barack Obama’s administration. They also argue that the pipeline will pass through sacred lands and pose a threat to their drinking water supply as it would pass under the Lake Oahe.
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U.S. District Court Judge Kames Boasberg, who is presiding over the case, green-lighted an expedited hearing schedule on Thursday, giving Energy Transfer Partners until March 23rd to respond to the tribes’ request for summary judgement.
Images of the ruins of the Oceti Sakowin camp, the main gathering site for Native American and allied protestors from around the country, have circulated social media since Wednesday, when police forces forcibly evacuated the area citing a growing risk of floods from the Missouri River as spring begins and ice starts to melt.
By Zainab Calcuttawala For Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…