Orange County School of the Arts

Tension builds for the Dakota Access pipeline

On Feb. 1, at least 70 protesters at the site for the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) were arrested. According to the North Dakota Joint Information Center, “[a] rogue group of protesters trie[d] to establish a new illegal camp on private property, against the request of the tribal council and district leaders.” The property owner had asked authorities to remove the rogue group, and officials met with them several times and requested that the protesters dismantle the camp and leave the area.

The group was given time to take down the camp, but they showed no signs of leaving, leading to 74 people arrested in southern Morton County. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says the group may have put their cause in jeopardy.

Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland made the statement that he expects the DAPL to start construction in the second quarter, even though the project hasn’t been given the green light. The energy company has a 25% stake in the $3.8 billion project.

In the company’s earnings news release, it was said that “commercial operations are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017, pending the issuance of an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete work beneath the Missouri River on DAPL,” On Feb. 1, the U.S. Army stated that they had taken steps to “expeditiously review requests for approvals to construct and operate” the DAPL, as per President Donald Trump’s request, but the pipeline’s easement has not been approved yet. With the second quarter ending on March 31, it is still unclear whether or not the project will move forward by that timeline.

Want your voice heard on this subject? The Army is accepting comments relating to the DAPL. In a small article by the Huffington Post, it’s said “The Department of the Army is accepting public comments leading up to its environmental impact statement in connection with Dakota Access’ request for them to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross North Dakota’s Lake Oahe. The comment period is open until Feb. 20, according to the document.” The article is followed with instructions on how to let them know what you think:

Send a letter or email to:

Mr. Gib Owen

Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

108 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-0108 (Use subject line NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing)

Use this form created by the Standing Rock Sioux to send a letter.

Use this form from the Sierra Club to send an email.

So far, the easement to go forward with the DAPL project has not been ratified. But, as protesters continue to fight for what they think is right, the outcome may not be what was expected.