Environment | Opinion

Sierra Club: More review needed for Dakota Access Pipeline






Activists protest the Dakota Access Pipeline outside of the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., on September 26, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com

The Sierra Club takes a stand against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, calling on the Obama administration to conduct a more thorough environmental review of the $3.8 billion project:
The Dakota Access pipeline, which would extend 1,168 miles—just seven fewer than the now-rejected Keystone XL pipeline—across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, would threaten communities, farms, Tribal land, sensitive natural areas, and wildlife habitat. It would pass within just half a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, putting sacred sites, burials, and culturally important landscapes at risk and posing a devastating public health threat to the Tribe’s drinking water in the case of a spill. It would also cross directly through lands in North Dakota reserved for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and others by the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, as well as the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s aboriginal title lands in South Dakota.

In addition to its potential impacts on land and water, new analysis shows that building the pipeline would also be inconsistent with the United States’ climate goals. According to a new analysis by Oil Change International (OCI), the pipeline would lock in greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equivalent to the emissions of 30 coal plants. By reducing shipping costs for large amounts of dirty oil, particularly with current oil prices so low, building this pipeline would significantly increase the amount of crude oil getting to market. OCI calculated that, at typical utilization rates of 95 percent of capacity, total lifecycle emissions from producing, transporting, processing, and burning the products derived from the oil would amount to 101.4 million metric tons of CO2e per year. Given this estimated impact and the White House’s recent guidance on how federal agencies should assess climate impact, it is only logical that a climate test be applied to this project, but thus far none has been conducted by the Administration.

Tribal and farming communities have been engaged in resisting Dakota Access for years, and as legal proceedings continue, resistance has continued to grow, both on the ground and across the country.

Read More on the Story:
Sierra Club: No DAPL! (Indian Country Today 9/26)

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals #NoDAPL Documents:
Injunction Blocking Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (September 16, 2016)
Order Setting October 5 Hearing (September 21, 2016)
Order Allocating Oral Argument Time (September 21, 2016)

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