Dakota Access Pipeline Owner Plans Risky Expansion Despite Oil Spills

Amid multiple oil spills in North Dakota from pipelines, the owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline now wants to build an expansion that will increase the risk of future spills, and that’s why the Standing Rock Sioux tribe opposes it.

The Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting the construction of these pipelines for years all while warning that there will be oil spills that will poison the environment and put the public health at risk.

Just last month, one of those pipelines, the Keystone pipeline, spilled 383,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota, drawing jeers from environmentalists who predicted that such disasters would occur if the fossil fuel industry were allowed to build the pipelines.

“I wish I could say I was shocked, but a major spill from the Keystone pipeline is exactly what multiple experts predicted would happen,” Greenpeace USA senior research specialist Tim Donaghy said in a statement at the time. “In fact, this is the fourth significant spill from the Keystone pipeline in less than ten years of operation. History has shown us time and again that there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception.”

Indeed, yet the owner of the Dakota Access pipeline wants to expand upon the existing line, a move that will absolutely increase the likelihood of another major spill and the poisoning of more environments and communities.

In fact, the Standing Rock Sioux are already warning that a “worst case spill will be far more dangerous under proposal to double pipeline capacity.”

“The Tribe is concerned that, if approved, the DAPL capacity expansion will set the stage for yet another Energy Transfer pipeline spill, with devastating consequences for the Tribe, the environment and the citizens of North Dakota,” the tribe continued.

In a statement of opposition delivered to the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the tribe repeated the warning and asked that the expansion be denied.

“The DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) capacity expansion will increase both the likelihood and the severity of spill incidents, and Dakota Access has failed to provide the commission with critical information necessary to properly evaluate the magnitude of those increased risks,” the tribe wrote according to Reuters.

Of course, Energy Transfer vice president of engineering Chuck Frey denied that there would be any risk of oil spills.

“I assure the commission we plan to cut no corners on this work,” Frey said.

A pinky swear, however, is just not good enough considering the long history of pipeline spills that have occurred again and again, which is why Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith called the company out.

“There are no guarantees for anything,” Faith said. “I’m telling everybody to stay strong and let the process handle itself. I feel positive.”

But the reality is that the commission will likely approve the project because it is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry and does not care about the environment or the rights of indigenous people. It’s about profit at any cost.

The Dakota Access pipeline, along with other such pipelines in the area, should not even exist. Pulling a paltry amount of oil out of the ground is just not worth the environmental and health costs. This is simply an unbelievable display of recklessness that the people of North Dakota will pay a heavy price for when the next oil spill inevitably happens. And the Standing Rock Sioux will be there to point out that they told everyone it would.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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