Army Corps Of Engineers Releases Draft Envio Review Of Dakota Access River Crossing

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Photo Credit: Tony Webster

     Federal officials on Friday released a draft environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, but said they’re waiting for more input before deciding the future of the line’s controversial crossing under the Missouri River in North Dakota.

       The Army Corps of Engineers said it “has not selected a preferred alternative,” but will make a decision in its final review after considering input from the public and other agencies.

    A public comment period began Friday and runs through November 13 with the Corps of Engineers to hold public meetings in Bismarck on Nov 1st and 2nd.

     The draft was released more than 3 years after a federal judge revoked the permit for the Missouri crossing near the Standing Rock Reservation because the initial environmental review was inadequate. 

     The Standing Rock Sioux had brought the legal challenge because it’s concerned that a Dakota Access oil spill could contaminate the tribe’s water supply.  The pipeline has been operating since 2017, including during the environmental review.

       The draft environmental review has 5 options: approving the permit and easement, denying them, shrinking the size of the easement, approving it with measures for “increased operational safety,” and rerouting the crossing 38 miles to the north.

       Corps Omaha District spokesman Steve Wolf told The Associated Press the agency is seeking public input on the environmental analysis of each alternative to help make an informed decision among the alternatives.

     The Dakota Access pipeline has a capacity of 750,000 barrels per day, but is currently moving only about 600-to-650,000 per day,

      Thousands of people gathered and camped near the pipeline’s Missouri River crossing in 2016 and 2017 for protests that lasted months and sparked hundreds of arrests. Over 830 criminal cases resulted from the protests.