Five democratic senators are asking President Obama to conduct an extensive environmental and cultural review on a controversial interstate oil pipeline, a process that could delay already behind-schedule construction on the pipeline for another several months.
The senators wrote a letter to Obama requesting that he require the extensive review, saying "the project’s current permits should be suspended and all construction stopped until a complete environmental and cultural review has been completed for the entire project.”
Construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline, developed by Energy Transfer, is nearly complete as it waits for permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build on federal land near Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
According to information from Reuters last month, the pipeline developer is losing more than $80 million each month construction is delayed. The pipeline had an estimated completion date of the end of this year, but now its completion date is uncertain due to the delays near Lake Oahe.
“There must be a serious consideration of the full potential climate impacts of this pipeline prior to the Army Corps of Engineers approving any permits or easements for the Dakota Access pipeline,” the senators said in their letter.
When completed, the $3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline would travel approximately 1,100 miles from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. From there it will connect to another line that will move the oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota directly to the U.S. Gulf.