Tag Archives: leak

Future DAPL Operator’s Pennsylvania Pipeline Leaked

Despite the millions of voices worldwide speaking out against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), parent company Energy Transfer remains unmoved.

CEO Kelcy Warren assured his employees that they thoroughly spoke with the Standing Rock Sioux, and that DAPL wouldn’t threaten the Missouri River. However, a recent pipeline leak in Pennsylvania by Sunoco Logistics, the future operator of the DAPL, coupled with the continuing protests, astonishing arrests and abuses in North Dakota suggest otherwise.

Environmental Danger

On Oct. 20th, heavy rainfall led to the Sunoco pipeline bursting, leaking 55,000 gallons of gasoline into Wallis Run which connects to the Susquehanna River. Although the pipeline was shut down, the continuing rainfall and flash flooding made it hard to immediately assess the damage, with residents being  warned against using water from the river. With the water now receded, no serious problems arose except an odor, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the Susquehanna River safe for drinking again.

Not only does the Susquehanna River provide drinking water to 6 million people along the Chesapeake Bay but it is also listed by American Rivers as the third most endangered river in the US due to fracking from the natural gas industry. This leak brings to question Sunoco’s pipeline management, as their pipelines spill frequently — with more than 200 recorded leaks since 2010.

The same is expected to happen to the Standing Rock Sioux with DAPL, and potentially at a worse scale, since Sunoco Logistics, the future operator, has proven to be severely incompetent.

Human Rights Abuses

After the 127 arrests from Oct. 22nd and 23rd, the Department of Justice (DOJ) was called upon by Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault to investigate the pipeline developments and the excessive force used by law enforcement. Until the DOJ addresses the issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux, no final permits will be issued to Energy Transfer for construction bordering or under Lake Oahe. Once again, they requested the company to voluntarily halt construction.

Last week another 141 protesters were arrested —  making the arrest count more than 400 since the protests began. The arrestees were placed in temporary holding cells, which many are calling dog kennels, and had numbers written on their skin in black marker.

The use of these cages was upheld by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department for the mass arrests, seeing as Morton County Correctional Center only has room for 42 inmates at a time.

Morton officials also assured that the protesters had access to the bathroom, food and water, but firsthand accounts say that they had to wait for basic necessities and medical attention. One example is Johanna Holy Elk Face, a 63 year old diabetic woman who had high blood sugar at the time, which would have potentially led to a seizure had her treatment been delayed any longer while she was in custody.

Because of these mass arrests, a UN permanent forum on indigenous rights is investigating these human rights abuses.

Federal Inaction

This past Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the Army Corps of Engineers would look into rerouting DAPL around sacred native land. In an interview with NowThis, he said the government will “let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans.”

It’s finally a step in the right direction after months worth of pleas from protesters to halt construction, however, they can’t afford to be left waiting for federal action when the human rights and federal law violations are far too obvious and constant to ignore or wait to see what the other side has to say. There is no doubt that the police are overstepping their power, and Energy Transfer is guilty of neglecting environmental protection, tribal sovereignty and historical preservation.

The day after Obama’s interview, law enforcement clashed with protesters as they tried crossing Cantapeta Creek to Cannonball Ranch and faced pepper spray while wading through the water. This came after Energy Transfer found Native American artifacts along the route of DAPL last month and failed to report it to state regulators within 10 days.

While the company moved the route away from the artifacts, the lack of a report will likely get them fined up to $200,000. This also violates Executive Order 13007 on Protection of Sacred Sites where “each executive branch agency shall avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sites.”

Between the federal law violations and human rights abuses which appear to be increasing every day, federal action cannot be delayed any further, especially with Obama’s presidency coming so close to an end. He has good intentions to hope for a peaceful solution, but it won’t come any sooner if action is postponed, especially given how excessively violent North Dakota law enforcement has become within the past few weeks.

There is no good to come from DAPL, and Energy Transfer and North Dakota law enforcement have broken far too many laws to just let it slide under the rug anymore. The protesters need immediate backing from federal action if their water and livelihood has any chance to live in peace.

Oil company ignores protests on Standing Rock Reservation, begins construction

Construction began on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP) earlier this week. Residents in the rural areas of the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois — where the pipe will run through — celebrated the thousands of new jobs the project would create and the new economic growth it would bring to their communities. Meanwhile, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fiercely protested the pipeline’s risk of an oil spill, which would contaminate the reservation’s only water source.

Standing Rock tribal members have been protesting the Dakota Pipeline for months. They began the campaign Rezpect Our Water to inform people on how the seemingly profitable multi-billion dollar project would mean disaster for the people of the Standing Rock reservation. The campaign website features video and letters from Standing Rock youth condemning the DAP:

“Our water isn’t the best. We don’t need it to be worse.”

—Anastasia White Mountain, 16

“I know you just want the money and everything but do you really want people hating you because you are helping to build the pipelines? Building the pipelines in the middle of our river is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life.”

—Alice Mae Iron Road, 14

“It is our land and has been our land since day one. It is our ancestors’ land, not yours.”

—Jeremy Allen Lester Jr., 14

The DAP will stretch 1,168 miles and connect pipelines in North Dakota to pipelines in Illinois, transporting about 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day. If the DAP ruptures, it will leak thousands of gallons of crude oil into the water that reservation residents rely on to cook, drink, and bathe in, poisoning the water beyond purification.

The Standing Rock Sioux reservation is the sixth-largest Indian reservation in the U.S., but the DAP’s potential effects on the reservation have been largely ignored by popular media. Several Hollywood stars have gotten behind the Rezpect Our Water campaign in an effort to increase its visibility, including Leonardo DiCaprio, a longtime environmental activist, and Jason Momoa, a native Hawaiian.

Several mainstream media outlets have been closely covering the DAP, but many articles focus on farmers’ concerns that the pipeline will not being finished soon enough. In a Des Moines Register article from May 12, one farmer says he wants the pipeline finished this year so that construction doesn’t extend into his 2017 crop year. He says it would interfere with his soil preparation and timeline for crop planting, resulting in lost yields.

While a delay in the pipeline construction would take a toll on some Midwestern states’ agriculture industries, the impacts would be mild in contrast to the Standing Rock reservation, where consequences would be much, much worse in the event of an oil spill.

The $3.8 billion pipeline has received permission for construction from three of the four states through which the pipe will run, with the exception being Iowa. Dakota Access filed a request with the Iowa Utilities Board two weeks ago to begin construction on land for which it has landowner approval and does not require federal permits. Iowa approved the project in March and the company hoped to get the green light to begin construction on Tuesday, but after stating that many landowners argued against the pipeline running through their property, the Iowa Utilities Board announced that it wanted more time to review comments and would delay its decision until further notice.

The U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been assigned the task of ensuring that the pipeline will have no adverse effects on wildlife and natural resources. As of May 20, the USACE has not issued any permits, and yet Dakota Access has begun construction anyway, at least in areas that don’t require federal permits. But in order for the company to finish its project, it requires the USACE’s go-ahead.

More than 100,000 people have signed a Change.org petition started by 13-year-old Anna Lee Rain YellowHammer calling for the USACE to reject the DAP. YellowHammer is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and lives in Fort Yates, North Dakota.

“My friends and I have played in the river since we were little; my great grandparents raised chickens and horses along it,” YellowHammer’s petition reads. “With such a high chance that this pipeline will leak, I can only guess that the oil industry keeps pushing for it because they don’t care about our health and safety. It’s like they think our lives are more expendable than others’.”

Dakota Access claims, “Pipelines are the safest mode of transporting crude oil,” on its website. When compared to transportation by rail or by road, which carry strong potential for car accidents, derailment, and explosions, transportation by pipeline is the obvious safe choice. But that does not mean it is safe, and that does not mean it should be built across a water source.

There were 8,690 reported incidents of oil and brine spills in North Dakota’s oil industry between 2006 and 2014. Just this week, a saltwater-oil mixture spilled at a site operated by Denbury Onshore LLC in Marmath, North Dakota — a three-hour drive west of the Standing Rock reservation.

This is not a matter of if the Dakota Access Pipeline will leak. It’s a matter of when. And when it does leak, people’s lives will be radically changed for the worst. Access to clean water isn’t a privilege, it’s a human right. By building the pipeline, Dakota Access is declaring that it is more concerned with its profits than with Native lives.

The future of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation rests on the USACE’s decision. A rejection would stop the pipeline dead in its trenches and prevent irreparable damage. But if the USACE approves the pipeline, the people of Standing Rock will inevitably suffer. Hundreds of oil spills occur every year; it would be foolish to think one couldn’t happen in the Missouri River. The Lakota people have faced and continue to face excessive abuse from their state governments, and they can’t afford to be abused any more. The USACE needs to reject the DAP, or it risks putting the entire Standing Rock reservation in harm’s way.

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Check out our report calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/truth-and-reconciliation

Please sign our petition calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://lakotalaw.org/action

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Pipeline Leak Increases Concerns in Native American Communities

Protest

What was originally estimated as a 187 gallon Keystone Pipeline oil spill in Freeman, South Dakota has now drastically increased to nearly 17,000 gallons. TransCanada, the energy company that created the Keystone Pipeline, shut it down for repairs and cleanup when a leak was reported on April 2nd. No threat to the environment or public health was reported, and the pipeline is running again at a reduced pressure.

Despite TransCanada’s quick response, the threat of environmental damage still worries environmental activists and especially Native American communities, who oppose further construction of pipelines. This leak is the Keystone Pipeline’s 35th since it was established in 2010. It should have been reported by one of TransCanada’s automatic monitoring systems, but was instead found by local farmer Loren Schultz.

According to a report by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA), the leak was caused by a problem in the welding that connected the pipes together. The pipe that failed was made by Welspun,  headquartered in India, which is known for their low-quality pipes.

These developments are fueling concerns from communities like the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, who face the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline being built on their water supply in the Missouri River. There is a high possibility that Dakota Access, the company building the pipeline, will repeat the same mistakes as TransCanada. This time, a leak could bring more severe damage, considering it would contaminate the water supply that thousands of people rely on.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, recently approved by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), will run from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, and will end in Patoka, Illinois. Dakota Access still needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources before constructions begins. However, none of the Sioux people on the nearby reservations were consulted about the pipeline crossing over their water supply, and their pleas for it being built elsewhere are being ignored.

The Dakota Access Pipeline violates the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act, since its construction over a body of water was not authorized by the U.S Congress. It also violates the National Historical Preservation Act because the reservation is home to sacred Native lands and the burial site of the Lakota leader Tatanka Iyotake, better known as “Sitting Bull.” The IUB is also facing a lawsuit from the Northwest Iowa Landowners Association, which argues that Dakota Access has no right to seize property for the pipeline.

According to Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault, the Dakota Access Pipeline not only threatens their water supply, but also sacred natural lands where eagles gather every spring.

“We still exist and we need to protect what little we have left because so much as been taken from us,” Archambault said in an interview with RT America.

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to more carefully review and revise its preliminary plan for the Dakota Access Pipeline, adding there should be a closer look into the impacts a spill would have on drinking water for Native American tribes. If a proper investigation is not done and the Corps approves the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation is prepared to sue for environmental and historical preservation violations.

Dakota Access claims to care about the surrounding communities, but their actions have proven the opposite, they’re blinded by dollar signs and are spewing lies meant to comfort and assure people that nothing will go wrong. Considering how prevalent leaks are, the Dakota Access Pipeline will leak sooner or later, especially if they choose to cut corners and buy the cheapest pipes like TransCanada. Energy Independence should not come at the cost of endangering thousands of lives, forcibly taking property and destroying the environment—TransCanada and Dakota Access would beg to differ.

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Image Source: http://www.mobridgetribune.com/?p=11959

Check out our report calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/truth-and-reconciliation

Please sign our petition calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://lakotalaw.org/action

Check out our new Truth and Reconciliation t-shirts for sale:  https://romero-institute.squarespace.com/lakotalaw-store/

Dakota Pipeline Threatens Tribal Water Sources

dapl-map-full

In a last ditch effort to protect the Missouri river from the Dakota Access Pipeline, dozens of tribal members from South and North Dakota gathered last Friday to protest. A camp has been set up at the point where the proposed pipeline would cross the river, and protesters plan to stay until the pipeline is stopped.

Members from the Standing Rock nation, Cheyenne River Lakota, and Rosebud Sioux, are saying Tribes were not properly consulted about the proposed pipeline, which has been approved by state regulators and now awaits federal confirmation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The proposed 1,130 mile, $3.8 billion pipeline will carry approximately 500,000 barrels a day from the Bakken oil fields in the western part of North Dakota to Illinois, and will also travel through South Dakota and Iowa in the process. It would cross the Missouri river, just yards from tribal lands, and pass through historic lands including burial grounds.

A portion of the pipeline would be constructed sixty-feet underneath the mouth of the Cannonball River, a tributary of the Missouri river and the municipal water source of the Standing Rock Tribe. If a leak or malfunction were to occur, the Tribe’s cherished water source would immediately be jeopardized.

There are approximately 2.5 million miles of pipeline transporting natural gas and crude oil throughout the United States, and leaks resulting in catastrophic consequences for the surrounding communities and environment occur annually.

Last year in May, a devastating spill occurred near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara, California. The corroded pipeline spilled approximately 142,800 gallons of crude oil into the pacific ocean and coastline. Within 24 hours, the oil polluted nine miles of coastline in Santa Barbara, with an estimated $250 million in damages.

Earlier this week, a “potential leak” in southeastern South Dakota has led TransCanada Corporation to investigate and cease operations on a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

While most of these leaks are due to corrosive pipes that had been constructed decades prior, the same notion of “it’ll happen eventually” is at the forefront of the Dakota Access pipeline protests. Additionally, the recent developments of the Keystone XL pipeline’s infrastructure, which was built less than a decade ago, raises further issues.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based energy company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, insists they are committed to “minimizing and mitigating the impacts to land properties,” boasting that pipelines are the safest and most efficient method of transporting energy resources.

ETP’s statements are deceptive, the proposed pipeline’s construction could seriously jeopardize the livelihood of the tribe and surrounding communities. Energy Transfer Partners are disregarding the concerns of local tribes, and a federal approval for the pipeline without a proper environmental impact study could ultimately lead to a grave environmental disaster in the region.

Pipelines are “ticking time bombs,” said Tony Iallonardo, communications director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, in an interview with ProPublica.

Any pipeline could rupture from inevitable exposure to the elements over time, and in this context, it is clear why Standing Rock and others are opposing it and pushing for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.