The yet to be completed, controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has leaked more than 100 gallons of oil already.
The pipeline sprang two separate leaks in March. First, 84 gallons of oil were spilled due to a leaky flange on March 3. This leak was located in Watford City. According to the North Dakota Health Department the oil flow was immediately cut off and the spill was contained on the site.
A second incident happened on March 5 in Mercer county and spilled 20 gallons of oil. The leak was due to a manufacturing defect on an above-ground valve. The contaminated soil was removed and nothing else was affected.
More recently the pipeline spilled another 84 gallons just outside of Tulare, South Dakota. This took place on April 1 and was due to mechanical failure during the testing of a surge pump, according to Aberdeen News.
Although the company behind the project, Energy Transfer Partners, and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources consider these “small” leaks and insist they were easily contained, the spills are troubling for many environmentalists, and more importantly for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that has spent the last year and a half protesting the completion of the pipeline.
As Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II stated, “This is what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill. The Dakota Access Pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day, and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline.”
Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe who NationofChange met while staying in the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota, also made a statement:
“This leak hits close to home, my home. We have always said it’s not if, but when, pipelines leak, and to have someone like Richard B. Kuprewicz – a pipeline infrastructure expert and incident investigator with more than 40 years of energy industry experience – question the integrity and building practices of Dakota Access says something pretty serious could go wrong.
“That worries me.South Dakota already faces water shortages and our livelihoods depend on water, from ranching and farming to healthcare. Do we have more spills just waiting to happen? This is our home, our land and our water. This just proves their hastiness is fueled by greed not in the best interest for tribes or the Dakotas.”
Should the project be completed, it will have cost $3.8 billion and will transport oil across 1,200 miles. Commercial operations are expected to begin on June 1.