DAPL Twofer: 1) CRS Insight Report: ‘Dakota Access Pipeline Siting Controvery’ 2) Jennifer Veilleux: Need for Indigenous Knowledge Inclusion
One major oil pipeline recently constructed is the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 30-inch diameter, 1,172- mile project that carries crude oil produced in northwest North Dakota to southern Illinois (Figure 1).
Dakota Access Pipeline Route The federal government does not have jurisdiction over the siting of domestic oil pipelines.
For example, interstate pipelines usually require permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in compliance with the 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act and the Clean Water Act due to numerous water crossings, disturbance of wetlands, or the use of Corps property or easements.
The review of these federal permit applications must examine potential environmental impacts in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
In June 2016, the Dakota Access Pipeline developer secured a "finding of no significant impact" from the USFWS for a permit allowing temporary disturbance of the agency’s wetland easements in North Dakota and South Dakota.
The Corps provided the developer with verification of Nationwide Permit 12 ("Utility Line Activities") permits under the Rivers and Harbors Act (Section 10) and the Clean Water Act (Section 404) for 202 proposed water crossings along the route.
Together with the USFWS permit, the Corps permits and easements comprised all the federal permissions required for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota filed in federal court a request for declaratory and injunctive relief.
On December 4, 2016, the Corps issued a statement that the agency would "not grant an easement to cross Lake Oahe at the proposed location based on the current record."
In a federal court filing on February 7, 2017, the Corps stated that it no longer intended to prepare an environmental impact statement in connection with the Lake Oahe easement—which it subsequently issued—clearing the way for the pipeline’s completion.