Regulators Decline Reconsidering MVP and Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water Permits

A regulatory panel declined a request to consider re-evaluating or revoking water-quality permits for two natural gas pipelines after environmental groups, landowners, and other critics argued the Corps’ review process being overly broad.

The Department of Environmental Quality defended the process, and both pipeline companies say the review has been rigorous.

Initially, the board weighted a motion to consider revoking the permits but voted it down.

The State Water Control Board met Tuesday in Richmond to consider the comments it solicited earlier this year regarding the permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines.

Staff from the DEQ gave an overview of the thousands of comments received in addition to having the board hear from attendees of the hearing which was raucous and contentious at times.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines have gathered many opponents because of their routes and have battled setbacks involving permits.

Radio IQ

U.S. Army Corps Pulls Significant Permit for Mountain Valley NatGas Pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week pulled a significant permit for the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia in order to determine if it is at odds with West Virginia environmental rules.

The permit, called the Nationwide Permit 12, gives developers of the pipeline the authority to discharge  and fill materials into several rivers at 591 locations along the route.

Reconciling the Nationwide Permit is a difficult task and could significantly delay the project, according to Katie Bays, an energy analyst in D.C.

The project is also dealing with a lawsuit that was filed by the Sierra Club who argues the project violates West Virginia rules.

If Mountain Valley regains the Nationwide Permit but still loses the Sierra Club lawsuit, the 303-mile pipeline may be required to reroute around three rivers in West Virginia, which could delay the project by a year.

The $3.5 billion project is being headed by EQT Midstream along with several other partners.


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

Judge to Decide Later This Year Whether to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline

A federal judge will decide later this year whether to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline while the Army Corps conducts a more thorough environmental review on the route.

Both sides in a lawsuit over the pipeline will submit written arguments on the matter in July and August, and the parties will expect a decision from the U.S. District Judge James Boasberg most likely in September.

The parties involve the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Standing Rock filed a lawsuit last summer arguing that the pipeline threatens cultural sites and water supply.

Judge Boasberg ruled last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider how an oil spill could affect the tribe when it permitted the pipeline earlier this year. He ordered that the agency reconsider parts of its environmental review.

ABC News

Army Corps Formally Ends Environmental Study of Dakota Access Pipeline Route

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers formally ended its environmental impact study of the Dakota Access Pipeline route under the Missouri River in North Dakota, a process the Army had initiated under the Obama administration.

The Army published its notice to the Federal Register on Friday saying it officially ended the study that was prompted amid concerns from the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes that the pipeline would contaminate drinking water supply should a spill occur.

Construction on the pipeline had been halted at the river while the study was in process, but President Donald Trump signed an executive order soon after taking office that approved the pipeline project and urged the Army to expedite its study and approval process.

The Army gave Energy Transfer Partners permission to continue construction earlier this month, and construction is currently underway.

Pipeline protestors are still fighting for further environmental study on the line and are challenging the pipeline project in court.


Army Corps, State Governor Refuse to Extend Evacuation Deadline of Dakota Access Protest Camp

Piles of debris at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp, in North Dakota.  Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

Piles of debris at the Oceti Sakowin camp, the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp, in North Dakota. Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota state governor on Thursday said they would not extend the evacuation deadline for protestors located at a federally owned camp along the Dakota Access Pipeline route where thousands of opponents have fought the pipeline over the last several months.

After an emergency notice was put forth by both the Army Corps and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum saying protestors must leave the camp by February 22, opponents of the line met with officials from the Army Corps requesting that the date be extended.

"It's completely impossible to remove everything down there in that short of a time frame," said member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chase Iron Eyes.

The evacuation was issued as a safety precaution as coming floods could potentially cause environmental pollution by displacing the leftover belongings and waste left at the campsite by past and present protestors.

Those still remaining at the campsite after February 22 could face a fine up to $5,000 and a possible six-month jail sentence.


Army Corps of Engineers Approves Dakota Access Pipeline Permit, Allowing for Completion of the Project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday granted an easement allowing for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through a reservoir of the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The decision means the full environmental review process of the route, promised under the Obama administration, has been cut short along with the public comment period tied to it.

Paul Cramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, wrote in a letter to Congress Tuesday that the Army would grant the easement as soon as Wednesday afternoon, immediately allowing for pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners to resume construction on the last 1.5-mile section.

Opponents of the pipeline, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, promised to fight should the easement be granted for construction under the Missouri River reservoir known as Lake Oahe.

The tribe issued a statement last month saying it would pursue legal action to ensure the environmental review is followed through in order to keep the pipeline process "legal, fair, and accurate."

"Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far," the director of the Indigenous Environmental Network wrote in a statement in response to the Army's decision to grant the easement.

The Army Corps' decision comes weeks after President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring the Army to expedite its review and approval process of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that was halted and denied a permit in December under the Obama administration.

In anticipation to complete the project during the halt, Energy Transfer Partners already drilled entry and exit holes for the crossing under the lake, and oil has been put into the pipeline leading up to the incomplete construction.

CBS News

Army Corps of Engineers to Close Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp

Arial view of the Oceti Sakowin camp where protestors have been fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline (Valley News Live)

Arial view of the Oceti Sakowin camp where protestors have been fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline (Valley News Live)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that it is preparing to close federal land where protestors have been camped to fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the announcement, the closure is for public safety.

According to the Army Corps, heavy snowfall and subsequent record flooding are expected in North Dakota, which could lead to environmental complications should the debris and waste left by protestors at the campsite contaminate water sources, such as the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe, due to the floods.

The Army Corps also said in the announcement that "ice jam flooding can very quickly force water into low-lying areas near the river with little time for reaction, placing anyone in the floodplain at risk for possible injury or death."

An official for the Oceti Sakowin camp, the name of the campsite, also urged remaining protestors to leave, sending out an announcement that encouraged them to evacuate as soon as possible for safety reasons.

The closure will take place February 22, and all remaining protestors were notified of the evacuation. If protestors refuse to leave it will become a "humanitarian mission" to rescue them, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

ABC News



U.S. Army Corps to Launch Environmental Impact Study of Dakota Access Pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday that it is launching its environmental impact study of the Dakota Access Pipeline route despite pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners' court request that the study be delayed.

The environmental impact study will review an easement needed for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, a reservoir of the Missouri River, located in southern North Dakota. In July of 2015, the Corps had granted Energy Transfer Partners the easement needed to build under the river but then reversed their decision in December of 2016, keeping the pipeline company from completing construction on the 1,200-mile interstate oil pipeline.

The impact study launch comes amid strong opposition to the pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota as the tribe and its supporters believe the pipeline would contaminate water supply and destroy sacred grounds. Strong protests against the pipeline have been ongoing around the nation since August, with arrests totaling more than 600.

Energy Transfer Partners on Monday asked a U.S. District Court judge to halt the environmental impact study until there is a court ruling on whether the pipeline company already has the necessary approval for constructing under Lake Oahe.

District Court Judge James Boasberg is weeks away from ruling whether Energy Transfer Partners can legally construct under the river.




Army Corps to Close Off Camp Access Near Dakota Access Pipeline Route

Red marker indicates the location of the Cannonball River where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is said to close off all protest camps that lie north of this location.

Red marker indicates the location of the Cannonball River where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is said to close off all protest camps that lie north of this location.

According to the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said they are closing off land near the Dakota Access Pipeline where protestors have been camping for months.

Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault received a letter from the Corps on Friday stating the group will close off all lands north of the Cannonball River by December 5 for public safety concerns relating to confrontations with authorities and the harsh winter season.

The letter stated that all trespassers may be prosecuted and that anyone who stays on the land does so at his or her own risk.

Archambault responded to the letter saying he and the Tribe are disappointed by the country for this decision but will still work to protect their water from the pipeline.

Protestors are fighting against Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline that will carry crude oil roughly 1,200 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribes along with protestors around the nation believe the pipeline would ruin the tribes’ water supply and destroy cultural sites.

The pipeline is nearly complete save for a small section that is supposed to travel underneath Lake Oahe, a reservoir the Missouri River in southern North Dakota.


Clash Between Police, Protestors Turns Violent at Dakota Access Pipeline Site

Law officials and protestors clashed Sunday evening at a bridge in Cannon Ball, North Dakota as protestors attempted to cross the bridge onto the private property while setting cars on fire and throwing rocks at police.

In attempt to turn back the demonstrators, police used water cannons and what was reported to be tear gas on the demonstrators. They also used water to take out the fires that the protestors allegedly started on the bridge and on several cars on the scene.

Protestors claimed their demonstration at the Backwater Bridge was peaceful and that the authorities started the violence with rubber bullets and water cannons, but police on the scene said the protests were far from peaceful and that authorities used water to put out fires as well as to control the crowds.

The bridge is near property that is now owned by Dakota Access pipeline’s developer Energy Transfer Partners, where protestors had previously set up encampments before being removed from the property. It is located about a mile from the last unfinished section of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is supposed to travel under Lake Oahe.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to grant Energy Transfer Partners an easement to build under the lake, but the pipeline company asked a district judge last week for permission to go ahead and build without receiving the easement.

Protests of the Dakota Access pipeline have been growing since the summer as the Native Americans and other environmentalists believe the pipeline would contaminate water supply and destroy burial sites.

Fuel Fix