Dakota Access Pipeline oil spill response plan ordered by US judge

Dakota Access

Energy Transfer Partners have been ordered to create an oil-spill response plan for the Dakota Access Pipeline with local tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers. Reuters photo by Josh Morgan.

Dakota Access plan to be created by April 2018

A federal judge has ordered the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline to work alongside local Native American tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers to create an oil-spill response plan for the controversial pipeline by next April.

US District Judge James Boasberg says his decision will allow crude to keep flowing and prevent spills.

The decision comes six months after Judge Boasberg ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers review the Energy Transfer Partners LP project was inadequate before permits were granted.

The 1,180 mile pipeline has been operational since June and transports Bakken crude to Illinois, and crosses through or nearby some Native American reservations.

According to Reuters, the judge’s order meets the requests of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to have an independent, third-party auditor share data obtained during a review period ordered in October.

“While we think that the pipeline should have been shut down, we are gratified that the federal court has put measures in place to reduce risks and provide some independent oversight to reduce the risk of a spill from this project,” Standing Rock Chairman Mike Faith told Reuters.

As well, Boasberg is looking for other interim measures from the company, including bi-monthly reports on safety conditions at the Lake Oahe pipeline crossing.  The water crossing was the centre of anti-pipeline protests last year.

Last month’s Keystone pipeline spill in South Dakota heightened the judge’s concerns and was cited as a reason for independent monitoring of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Posted in: USA

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