The recent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline construction has made a ton of headlines. The Dakota Access Pipeline runs a total of 1,172 miles from Bakken Shale in North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline will connect Bakken and the Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. Construction of the pipeline is almost complete except for a small section passing under the Missouri River.
As per the Obama administration’s decision, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it is refusing to grant the final permit required to complete the $3.8 billion project, offering relief to Native American protestors. According to a memo from Energy Transfer Partners CEO, Kelcy Warren, construction of the pipeline is already about 60% complete.
Construction of the pipeline will enable domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to reach major markets in a direct, cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner. The pipeline is also predicted to reduce the current use of rail and truck transportation to move Bakken crude oil to major U.S. markets (Midwest, East Coast, Gulf Coast and Texas markets) to support demand. The pipeline will transport half of Bakken’s current daily crude oil production and address transportation issues in the Upper Midwest.
The increase in crude oil production in North Dakota has strained transportation to Upper Midwest markets. These strains include: a lack of rail cars to move grain out of South Dakota, an increase on tariffs on railcars from $50 to $1,400 per car and transportation shortages for agriculture and other industries.
The estimated economic impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is said to create jobs and revenue in sales, income taxes and property taxes. Approximately 8,000-12,000 local jobs are predicted to be created during construction. The pipeline investment translates into millions in state and local revenue as well as an estimated $156 million in sales and income taxes. $55 million annually is predicted to be generated in property taxes for services to support schools, roads and emergency services. However, the construction was stopped by three federal departments (The Justice Department, Department of Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) after two years of constant criticism of the potential harmful effects of the pipeline and recent protests by Native Americans.
Those who oppose the construction of the pipeline have many reasons for doing so. Critics say the pipeline could pollute drinking water from the Missouri River and destroy land that’s culturally important to Native Americans. In addition, the land was acquired from family farmers in Iowa via eminent domain, a method not preferred by critics that is defined as a right of a government to take private property for public use.
Controversy surrounding the pipeline started two years ago when Energy Transfer Partners announced that 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day would be carried from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to existing infrastructure in Illinois. This past summer, thousands protested against the pipeline and dozes were arrested near the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation in Iowa. The Obama Administration has, for now, halted the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, temporarily providing relief to protestors from more than 200 Indigenous nations and their non-Native Allies.
Priyanka R. Oza is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.