A decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline’s operation is near

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 3:56 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The uncertain future of the Dakota Access Pipeline will soon become clear.

In February, a decision was supposed to be made on whether the pipeline could continue operating while the Army Corps of Engineers undergo another environmental review. Instead the decision will be made on Friday, April 9.

The shutdown of the Keystone XL Pipeline almost immediately after President Joe Biden took office set the tone for how the new administration looks at energy.

Pipeline workers said the industry has been slowing down for the past two years, but halting construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline was just another hit.

“It was very disappointing because the last two years I have only worked two jobs. One of them was a six-week job and one was an eight-week job,” said Pipeliner Jason Jernigan.

Jernigan also helped construct the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016.

Now, there’s potential for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be shut down as well as further environmental review continues.

In a statement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith said, “The original permit was unlawful and DAPL is now operating illegally.”

Another tribal community, MHA Nation, about 200 miles north may have a different view on the pipeline, as more than half of the oil produced on the reservation flows through Dakota Access.

Tribal Chairman Mark Fox sent a letter to the Army Corps asking to meet with them to consult “any action taken that would adversely impact the market value of their oil and gas resources.”

Oil and gas industry leaders said producers will find a way to bring the approximately 570,000 barrels of oil flowing through the pipeline per day to market, even if it’s more expensive and less safe.

They said that method would likely be putting it on trains, which the public service commission says could strain the system.

“We depend on the rail systems and they go right through the center of almost every single North Dakota community,” said Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

Fedorchak added maintaining rail safety will be vital if the pipeline shuts down and the industry returns to moving oil through rail.

Tomorrow, after a federal hearing, the decision will either allow the pipeline to continue operating or halt the flow of oil.

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