Dakota Access pipeline 87 percent complete in North Dakota: report
By Red Power Media, Staff | Oct 6, 2016
On Wednesday a federal appeals court judge suggested the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, is being forced on the Native American tribe opposing the project.
The Daily Caller reports, a three-judge panel pressed lawyers defending the Dakota Access Pipeline with sharp questions on why they think the project should continue before the government can review the project to ease concerns brought up by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
The $3.8 billion, four-state Dakota Access project has come under protest and scrutiny by activists and members of the Standing Rock Sioux who argue the pipeline’s construction would trample tribal lands, destroy artifacts and potentially poison waterways, including the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
Judge Thomas B. Griffith questioned why the pipeline company wouldn’t halt work near the lake before seeing whether they get the government’s permission to continue construction on government land bordering and under the lake.
“It looks like you’re forcing their hand,” Griffith said.
The federal appeals court ―which halted the pipeline project last month, appealing a lower court’s ruling― has not indicated when it will rule, but lawyers representing the Sioux and environmentalists said they are pleased the court is upholding its temporary injuction on the project until a decision can be made.
The appeals court ordered Dakota Access to stop construction within 20 miles of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe.
According to Inforum.com, despite delays caused by protests, the North Dakota leg of the Dakota Access pipeline was 87 percent complete at the end of September, up from 68 percent in August, according to the monthly construction report filed with the state Public Service Commission late Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Construction began May 16 on the 346-mile, $1.4 billion North Dakota leg, which is being built simultaneously in three sections by two different contractors. Precision Pipeline LLC is building the segments from Stanley to Watford City and from Watford City to Lake Oahe, while Michels Corp. is constructing the pipeline from Lake Oahe to the state line, the report said.
An attorney for the pipeline company said at Wednesday’s hearing that if the court allowed it, the company would continue building up to the lake’s edge even before the easement decision, because each extra month of delay will cost the company more than $80 million, Reuters reported. The pipeline is slated to be in service by the end of the year, but it’s unclear how the delays at Lake Oahe will affect that schedule.
“Mechanical completion date is unknown,” the construction report states.