Army Corps to Meet with American Indian Tribes on Dakota Access Pipeline

As an environmental study for the Dakota Access Pipeline continues, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares to meet with American Indian tribes who argue they were left out of the process.

Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Yankton, and Oglala Sioux tribes filed a lawsuit in 2016 in hopes to shut down the $3.8 billion pipeline that began moving oil from North Dakota to Illinois in June last year. The tribes argue that the pipeline could cause environmental and cultural harm. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is currently overseeing the lawsuit.

Although Boasberg allowed the pipeline to begin operations last year despite lingering concerns of its impact on tribal interests, he ordered additional study on the line, which is currently underway.

Standing Rock and Cheyenne River said earlier this year that they were not given a significant role in the additional study process and asked Judge Boasberg to allow them more involvement. Their request was rejected.

To complete the study, the U.S. Army Corps needs additional information from the tribes, which it has had difficulty obtaining. The Corps is scheduled to meet with each tribe by June 1.

The New York Times

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Files Report, Says Dakota Access Pipeline Unsafe

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed a report to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arguing that the pipeline technology used by Energy Transfer Partners for the Dakota Access Pipeline cannot detect large, dangerous leaks.

The 313-page report argues that the current remote-detection technology being used to monitor the pipeline cannot detect leaks that are less than two percent of the full pipeline flow rate. At an assumed full rate of 600,000 barrels of oil per day, a possible undetected leak could amount to as much as 12,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the report.

Although the 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline has been in operation since June of last year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's fight against the project has not ended since it began protesting the line in 2016.

The tribe wrote in its report that the worst-case scenarios envisioned by Energy Transfer Partners still do not cover the possibilities of things like human error or equipment malfunction.

It is unlikely that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will revoke permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could use its report to sue the government.


President Trump Action Helps Energy Transfer Partners Quadruple Net Income

Pipeline giant Energy Transfer Partners more than quadrupled net income to $2.5 billion last year in large thanks to President Donald Trump.

Trump's approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as his lead in the U.S. tax overhaul, helped give Energy Transfer Partners the massive profit last year, according to an earnings report on Wednesday.

The 1,172-mile Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which went into operation in June last year, alone added $247 million to the company's earnings in the fourth quarter, according to Energy Transfer Partners.

Energy Transfer Partners operates a total of 70,000 miles of oil and gas pipeline and is one of the tops in the industry.

The company is near completion on its Rover natural gas pipeline in Ohio and Pennsylvania and has started construction on its Bayou Bridge crude oil pipeline in Louisiana. It is also considering a new crude oil pipeline in the Permian to move oil to Nederland, Texas.

Fuel Fix

Energy Transfer Partners, Army Corps Object to Tribal Request for DAPL

Dakota Access Pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are objecting in federal court to an effort by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to strengthen protections for their water supply.

Both groups have written in separate documents filed Wednesday that the proposals by the tribes are unnecessary or unwarranted, saying measures have already been put in place to achieve water protection.

Both tribes get their water from the Missouri River's Lake Oahe reservoir in southern North Dakota, an area of water under which the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses, and fear that an oil spill would ruin that water supply.

The tribes lost their fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from operating, so they are now asking the federal court to require increased public reporting of pipeline issues and implementation of an emergency spill response plan at the lake crossing, including staged equipment.

Energy Transfer Partners says it already has emergency equipment staged near the crossing and has taken steps to include the tribes in the response plan.


Monument from DAPL Protest to be Displayed at Smithsonian

A 12-foot mile-marker constructed by protestors during their months-long fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline will be on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in D.C.

The structure was made as a centerpiece of the protest camp in southern North Dakota that began its sprawl in August of 2016 until it was forced to disband in February this year. It showed the distances that protestors traveled from around the globe, ranging from homes 50 yards to some 4,000 miles away.

A total of more than 12,000 activists protested the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is now in operation, saying it violated Native rights and would ruin water supply.

The camp was forced to disband in February for safety reasons as the spring flooding season was on its way after an incredibly harsh winter.

The mile-marker post will be the final piece of an exhibit in the Smithsonian called "Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations." It will be on display through 2021.

Washington Post

Federal Judge to Hear Arguments on Tribe's Fallback Plan for Dakota Access Pipeline

U.S. Federal Judge James Boasberg will hear arguments over the next month about whether Energy Transfer Partners should be required to stage equipment near the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's reservation to quickly respond to any oil spill that could occur under the Missouri River.

The proposed requirement is part of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's fallback plan in case Boasberg decided to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to continue operating while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts additional study on the pipeline route.

Earlier this month Boasberg ruled that the pipeline, which began operations on June 1 of this year, could continue operations during the review.

Boasberg scheduled a timeline for arguments with attorneys on both sides of the tribe's proposal. The proposal asks for increased public reporting of pipeline issues and implementation of an emergency spill response plan.

Additional review of the pipeline will most likely not be completed until the spring of next year, according to the Army Corps.

ABC News

Energy Transfer Partners Gives $15 Million to North Dakota to Help with DAPL Protest Costs

Energy Transfer Partners sent North Dakota $15 million on Thursday to help pay for costs related to months of protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

The state has been pushing for federal reimbursement to cover costs related to the pipeline protests. Although the state's request for a disaster declaration was denied, the U.S. Justice Department gave a $10 million grant to the state to help pay some of the policing bills.

Some state officials, however, argue that the federal government should pay for all costs since the protests occurred on federal ground without a permit, and the federal government decided not to evict the protestors due to free speech.

North Dakota has arranged for a bank credit line of up to $43 million to cover costs. the state's head of National Guard said the costs shouldn't go past that figure.

The Dakota Access Pipeline started service in June, moving oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The project is still being contested in federal court by Native American tribes who worry a leak would ruin water supply.

Houston Chronicle

American Midstream Partners Begins Crude Deliveries to Dakota Access Pipeline

American Midstream Partners announced Monday that it began deliveries from its 40,000 barrel-per-day Bakken crude oil gathering system in North Dakota into the Dakota Access Pipeline.

American Midstream's connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline provides optionality to high-value market alternatives and take-away capabilities for gathered barrels and volume brought through American Midstream's trucking terminal.

"The connection is a continuation of our strategy to optimize the long-term value of our assets by giving producers a suite of services with strong market connectivity via multiple pipeline takeaway points," said Lynn Bourdon, President and CEO of American Midstream Partners.

American Midstream Partners is a growth-oriented limited partnership that currently owns or has ownership interest in about 4,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines and other assets.

Business Wire

U.S. Federal Judge Grants Trade Groups a Say in Potential DAPL Shutdown

A U.S. federal judge weighing whether to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline while an additional environmental review is conducted on the route said Friday that national energy and manufacturing trade groups could have a say in the verdict.

District Judge James Boasberg granted the request just days before Monday’s final deadline for all parties involved in the dispute to give their arguments.

After the Dakota Access Pipeline began operations in June, Boasberg ordered that the Army Corps of Engineers further review the pipeline’s impact on the Standing Rock tribe land. Boasberg is deciding whether to temporarily shut down the 1,200-mile pipeline until that review is completed.

The Standing Rock Sioux and other American Indian tribes are fighting against the line, saying it threatens cultural sites and water supply.

Groups in the energy industry, such as the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and Association of Oil Pipe Lines, submitted a request to Boasberg to be able to weigh in on the matter.

These groups and the operator of the $3.8 billion oil pipeline argue that shutting down the line would have a significant economic impact throughout the oil industry and other smaller economies.


DAPL Developer Energy Transfer Partners Sues Greenpeace, Other Environmental Groups

Dakota Access Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace and other environmental groups Tuesday, claiming the groups spread misleading information about the DAPL project, interfered with its construction, and cost the company millions of dollars.

In its lawsuit, which requests damages that could reach up to $1 billion, Energy Transfer Partners alleges that the groups interfered with its business, facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism, incited violence, targeted financial institutions that backed DAPL, and violated racketeering and defamation laws.

Defendants claim the lawsuit is "meritless" and not meant to seek justice but to silence free speech through litigation.

The lawsuit states that "the scheme of dissemination of negative information devastated the market reputation of Energy Transfer as well as the business relationships vital to its operation and growth."

The approximately 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline began operations in June this year after months of delays due to arduous protests in North Dakota as well as all around the nation. Four Sioux tribes in North and South Dakota are continuing to fight the operational pipeline in federal court in hopes that a judge will shut it down.


State Regulators Grant Energy Transfer Partners' Request to Delay Hearing in DAPL Dispute

With reluctance, North Dakota state regulators agreed to the request of Energy Transfer Partners to delay a public hearing on whether the pipeline developer violated state rules when building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the continued delays in the case cause her to worry that they are not making any forward progress.

The case involves whether Energy Transfer Partners removed too many trees and improperly handled some soil during construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which began moving oil from North Dakota to Illinois in June.

The public hearing that is now delayed was set for Thursday and was meant to provide information for the commission to decide whether to pursue the case and possible fine the pipeline developer.

Energy Transfer Partners requested Monday that the hearing be delayed in order to give attorneys on both sides more time to discuss a resolution.

Houston Chronicle

Tribes Want DAPL Stopped but Offer Alternative Plan

American Indian tribes that stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline are asking a judge to shut down the line while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts additional environmental review, but the tribes have an alternative plan if the judge disagrees.

Standing Rock Sioux attorney Jan Hasselmen said Monday the tribe wants increased public reporting of pipeline issues, such as repairs, and the implementation of a spill response plan at the Lake Oahe reservoir, which is where the tribe draws its water.

Hasselmen claims the Corps nor DAPL has communicated with the tribes about spill response planning.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in June ruled that the Army Corps, although it complied with environmental law when permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline, did not adequately consider how an oil spill under Lake Oahe may affect the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The Corps is therefore conducting additional environmental review on certain areas of the line, and Boasberg is deciding whether to shut down the line while that work is done.

The approximately 1,200-mile, $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline transfers oil from western North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois and then onto the Gulf of Mexico.


North Dakota Continues to Seek Federal Funding to Help Recover DAPL Protest Costs

North Dakota continues to seek federal funding to help pay state law enforcement bills related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The state applied in late June to the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program and seeks nearly $14 million in funding to help recoup the $38 million spent by the state for policing the months-long protests. The state aims to spare taxpayers the expense.

North Dakota sought funding in late April from the Federal Emergency Management Agency but was denied the request in May as the agency typically only funds recovery of natural disasters. North Dakota did not appeal.

The state hopes the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program may be better tailored to the civil unrest that North Dakota experienced.

The $3.8 billion, approximately 1,170-mile Dakota Access Pipeline built by Energy Transfer Partners moves oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois and onto the Gulf Coast.

Houston Chronicle

Additional Review of Dakota Access Pipeline to Take Rest of Year, Says Army Corps

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will need the rest of the year to conduct additional environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which went into operation June 1.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg last month ordered the Army Corps to do more study on the already-operating pipeline to assess its potential impact on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The Army Corps, pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners, and other energy trade groups are asking to keep the line in operation during the review process.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe wants the pipeline shut down in the meantime, saying its halt is warranted.

Energy Transfer Partners says shutting down the line would negatively affect oil producers and refiners, workers, customers, consumers, and government tax revenue.

Judge Boasberg is hearing arguments on whether the line should be shut down.


Iowan Groups Still Vow to Stop Fully-Operational Dakota Access Pipeline

Groups in Iowa are still vowing to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline even though the $3.8 billion project is in full operation as of last Thursday.

Appeals are still pending with the Iowa Supreme Court, which is keeping opponents of Dakota Access hopeful that they can still shut the pipeline and have it removed. The appeals involve concern about the environment, property rights, and other issues.

The Sierra Club of Iowa is also appealing to the state's high court over the Iowa Utilities Board's permit approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Iowan groups against the pipeline said they will not concede defeat even if winning is a long shot.

"If any of these court rulings go our way, things could change," said former state legislator Ed Fallon who heads activist group Bold Iowa.

The controversial pipeline began commercially shipping oil last Thursday and has the capacity to ship about 520,000 barrels of oil per day. No spills have been reported in Iowa, and pipeline operator Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, continues to file weekly construction reports with the Iowa Utilities Board that indicate restoration of farmland and other cleanup work.

USA Today

State Commission to Examine Energy Transfer Partners Over Possible Violations During DAPL Construction

The developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline will face examination this summer by the state of North Dakota on whether it violated state rules while constructing the oil pipeline.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is investigating possible violations made by Energy Transfer Partners when constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline through the state, such as removing too many trees and shrubs along the route and improperly reporting the finding of Native American artifacts.

If the company is found guilty in either case, it could face up to tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Energy Transfer Partners maintains it did nothing intentionally wrong and acted in good faith.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission claims that Energy Transfer Partners diverted construction of the pipeline around Native American artifacts last summer without first notifying the commission, which was required. The company said it received clearance from the State Historic Preservation Office.

A third-party inspector claims there are 83 sites along a 380-mile pipeline corridor in North Dakota where the company may have cleared shrubs and trees in violation of the commission's orders. Energy Transfer Partners said it has a plan to plant two trees for every one that it removed.

A hearing will be set for two back-to-back days in either July or August, according to the commission.

The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile oil pipeline is set to begin shipping oil on Thursday.

Houston Chronicle

Enbridge May Acquire More Assets to Increase Earnings, says CEO

Calgary-based Enbridge said it may look into acquiring more assets as part of its plan to increase its earnings this year following its purchase of Spectra Energy Corp.

Enbridge, which purchased Spectra Energy earlier this year for $28 billion and is now North America's largest energy infrastructure company, reported lower-than-expected profit for this year's first quarter but expects adjusted profit before interest and taxes.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said on a conference call that the company may look into acquisitions smaller than Spectra Energy but did not name any targets.

Monaco also mentioned Enbridge is interested in expanding its BC Main Line gas pipeline in Canada and is currently gauging shipper interest.

As a way to deal with new assets from the merger with Spectra, Enbridge may form subsidiaries to reduce leverage, according to Monaco.

Enbridge recently acquired a 27.5 percent stake in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that is expected to come online by June 1.


North Dakota Asks Feds for $38 Million to Relieve Costs from Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

The state of North Dakota is requesting $38 million in reimbursements from the federal government to cover state law enforcement costs from the months of protests over construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Governor Doug Burgum emailed President Trump Saturday asking for a presidential disaster declaration, although the likelihood of that declaration may be small given President Trump's support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The costs resulted from about six months of arduous protests against construction of Energy Transfer Partners' $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline that runs 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Illinois.

Hundreds and sometimes thousands of protestors gathered in southern North Dakota from August to February in attempt to stop construction near a native tribe reservation. Some of the protests resulted in violence and damage to property; 761 protest-related arrests have been reported.

In his email to President Trump, Governor Burgum wrote that the protest "was of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments."

The state hopes to receive monetary relief from Congress' $1 trillion spending bill that may include funds for a Justice Department program. If not given aid, the costs would fall on the North Dakota taxpayers.

ABC News

Dakota Access Pipeline to Start Interstate Crude Oil Delivery Next Month

The Dakota Access Pipeline will begin interstate crude oil delivery on May 14, according to pipeline operator Energy Transfer Partners.

The company on Thursday filed a tariff with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in which it laid out details on the oil pipeline.

After months of sometimes-violent international opposition and protest against the 1,172-mile pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners requested to a federal judge earlier this month that it keep secret the details of the line in order to prevent vandals from damaging the line.

The pipeline operator asked in its request to U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to shield pipeline information that could be used by anyone "with the malicious intent to damage the pipeline."

Judge Boasberg said in a ruling that some but not all information may be shielded from public view. Information relating to pipeline maps at certain crossings, detecting and shutting down spills, maps of spill scenarios, and details to monitoring systems may be shielded from public view, according to Boasberg's decision.

The $3.8 billion project starts in western North Dakota at the Bakken Shale Play and runs to Patoka Illinois.


Energy Transfer Partners: Oil in Dakota Access Pipeline Under Missouri River Reservoir

Energy Transfer Partners announced in a court filing Monday that there is now oil in the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath the Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. The company is preparing for full pipeline operation soon.

The roughly 1,170-mile oil pipeline is about three months behind schedule due to significant protests that have delayed construction over the last several months, but the pipeline should be carrying oil from North Dakota to Illinois within a few weeks, according to the company.

Although the pipeline is nearly in operation, a lawsuit sought by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to stop the pipeline is still unresolved. The tribes argue the pipeline would contaminate water supply and threaten their rights to practice their religion as it requires pure, clean water.

AP News