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Both parts of the Bakken Pipeline system, including the Dakota Access, are now online and operating commercially, according to a new press release by the facilities’ main owner, Energy Transfer Partners.
At a combined capacity of 520,000 barrels per day, the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and its less notorious brother, the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline (ETCO) transfer crude from the Bakken formation in North Dakota to the U.S. refining hubs of the Gulf Coast and a storage/terminal hub in Illinois. Together, they are called the Bakken Pipeline, which is owned by ETP (38.25 percent stake), MarEn Bakken Company (36.75 percent stake) and Phillips 66 (25 percent stake).
Native American and environmental activists led opposition to the DAPL over the past two years, citing concerns that a portion of the pipeline crossing a lake that connects to the Missouri River could contaminate local water resources in the event of a major leak.
The Associated Press reported in early May that DAPL leaked 84 gallons of oil in South Dakota on April 4th. The four Sioux tribes trying to shut down the pipeline claim the incident supports their argument that the pipeline should be subject to government-ordered environmental review because it could jeopardize drinking water supplies.
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the spill was quickly contained and cleaned up, and therefore did not represent a real risk to the environment. News of the leak had not been released earlier because the agency only issues statements regarding leaks that could threaten public health, according to environmental scientist Brian Walsh.
Last week, ETP failed to obtain an approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to restart work on the Rover natural gas pipeline in Ohio, after authorities ordered a freeze in horizontal drilling in May. Construction activities have led to 18 incidents of massive spills, pollution and open burning, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which fined ETP $714,000 for the damage to nature. The state is still reviewing many of the incidents.
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…