The Dakota Access Pipeline Plans to Open for Business

Photo: A visitor walks by a tepee that was set up by Dakota Access Pipeline protesters near the Washington Monument on March 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

On Tuesday, a court filing on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, revealed this week that the company has begun pumping oil into the controversial pipeline.

Also: Everything You Need to Know About Standing Rock

Although a Federal court has yet to rule on claims that the Army Corps of Engineers has violated environmental, historic-reservation, and religious-freedom laws made by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, EFT moved forward with their plans.

“Oil has been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline underneath Lake Oahe. Dakota Access is currently commissioning the full pipeline and is preparing to place the pipeline into service,” the court filing stated.

In an email to the Associated Press, ETP spokeswoman Vicki Granado confirmed that the DAPL will begin to deliver oil to Patoka, Illinois, within a few weeks.

Granado told Reuters that DAPL will “provide a safer, more environmentally responsible and more cost-effective transportation system to move crude across this country as opposed to truck or rail,” just days after news broke that another North Dakota pipeline, Belle Fourche, spilled some 530,000 gallons of oil just 150 miles from the DAPL. Tragically this was not the largest oil spill in the state’s history. In 2013, 840,000 gallons spilled in a wheat field near Tioga.

DAPL is currently three months behind schedule due to the protests that began last summer and continued throughout the fall. In December, the Obama administration put plan on gold, but on January 24, the new president ordered the $3.7 billion pipeline to be completed.

Although the camps have been cleared of protestors, the opposition continues inside and outside the courts. Following the January order, the Cheyenne River Sioux filed a restraining order, claiming the government has violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by installing crude oil pipeline under the sacred waters of Lake Oahe.

Court documents files on February 2 explain, “Although there can be no way of knowing when this prophesy emerged into the Lakota worldview, Lakota religious adherents now in their 50s and 60s were warned of the Black Snake by their elders as children. The Black Snake prophecy is a source of terror and existential threat in the Lakota worldview…. Lakota adherents believe that the Black Snake poses an existential threat because it will cause critical imbalance in an essential resource of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe: the natural, ritually pure waters of Lake Oahe.”

In support of the protest, ING Bank announced last week that after meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in February, they have agreed to divest their support from the project.

Earlier this week, actress Shailene Woodley plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct for participating in the protests last October. She received a sentence of one year unsupervised probation, and continues to speak out against DAPL.


Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Whitewall, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Jocks and Nerds, and L’Oeil de la Photographie. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.