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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Is This The Death Blow For The Dakota Access Pipeline?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has refused to grant a permit to Energy Transfer Partners for the construction of the hotly contested section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline that would have passed through Standing Rock Sioux lands. Hundreds of protesters who have been camping at the construction site for months now have celebrated the decision as a victory.

The decision to withhold the permit was made by the Assistant Secretary of Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, who said she made it because there were alternatives to this specific route of the Dakota Access section that could be discussed with Energy Transfer Partners. The route that sparked the vocal opposition would have passed under Lake Oahe and would have constituted a risk for the quality of drinking water in the area, according to opponents.

Energy Transfer Partners said last month that it would not reroute the pipeline, and instead, offered to open up dialogue with Standing Rock representatives in a bid to quench their fears. The Sioux tribe declined the offer.

Following Sunday’s announcement by the Army Corps, Energy Transfer Partners said that the decision was political, claiming the Obama administration was ready to do anything to delay the final decision until its term ends. Related: U.S. Oil Rig Count Climbs To A 10-Month High

The governor of North Dakota also criticized the decision to refuse ETP a permit, saying it was a serious mistake. The governor last week issued an order for the emergency evacuation of the protesters, citing adverse weather conditions. Now, he believes, the decision to delay the end of the saga will make a dangerous situation last longer.

Despite what protestors are calling a victory, the delays have also motivated the protesters to stay at their camp, disregarding the governor’s order to vacate it by Monday. Nobody knows what Donald Trump will do with the pipeline project when he steps into the White House in January, and this uncertainty has prompted the protesters to stay where they are.

Trump is a vocal supporter of the energy industry, so he may look much more kindly on the Dakota Access project than his predecessor, although his unconventional ways, as well as his for-the-people sentiments may very well result in Trump steering ETP towards a new route with palatable concessions.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Clyde Boyd on December 05 2016 said:
    The decision will be reversed when Trump takes office
  • Bud on December 05 2016 said:
    The pipeline is already complete. Is the tribe going to put up a construction bond to reroute a large completed portion of a 4 billion construction project? On both sides of the river?

    This is all shear nonsense at this point and will likely end tragically because the media is not patrician enough to tell these people the fact that this will be completed, period.

    Do you think the army corp, the company and their bankers just pointed at the map and said let's spend billions to cross here. Of course not, they spent years working this out with the army. And again there is a pipeline already on this property.

    This is what you should be reporting, that it is going to be 30 below zero with wind chill this week at the camp site and the government wants these people to leave before someone dies.
  • Jeff on December 06 2016 said:
    The article states, "oil pipeline that would have passed through Standing Rock Sioux lands."

    I believe the pipeline is on private land. The is a piece of land that the pipeline crosses just adjacent to the reservation that was promised to the tribe in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, but was later taken for private use. The land has been farmed for generations.

    If they want to have a discussion about broken treaties, I say we have that discussion, but their non-peaceful protests are just setting yet another benchmark that violent protests can work. There are was to object, disagree and protest; but flouting the law shouldn't be rewarded.

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