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Senators Start Inquiry Into DAPL Approval Process

Two Democratic Senators have written to the chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for details about the Corps’ decisions that led to the full approval and completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, The Associated Press reports.

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper and Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, who are Ranking Democratic members on Senate environment and energy committees, on Monday sent a letter to Corps Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, asking for access to information about the decision-making, including communication flows between the Corps and officials in President Trump’s administration.

The $3.8-billion Dakota Access pipeline, which was last year suspended by the Obama administration, was greenlighted again by President Trump in his first week in office. Dakota Access will carry crude from the North Dakota Bakken shale play to Illinois.

Opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline have continued their court battles after President Trump signed the executive order to advance the project.

In early March, a federal judge for the District of Columbia denied a motion against the project brought in by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Cheyenne River tribe. In his decision, Judge James Boasberg noted that the project had received the support of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of issuing the easements necessary for the project to proceed, and from the White House—this latter support particularly strong. He added that the pipeline was effectively complete, save for the short stretch that the tribal communities are opposing, and argued the plaintiffs had a slim chance of winning.

Related: Most Middle East Oil Producers Won’t Break Even This Year

Last week, project operator Energy Transfer Partners said that the Dakota Access pipeline was ready to start shipping crude oil from Bakken south to Illinois. The company said that it had put crude in a reservoir under the Missouri River, and that full-scale flow would begin soon. The reservoir is in the section of the pipeline under Lake Oahe that sparked protests from local Native American tribes and environmentalists.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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