The end appears to be near for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline issue. While the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes both have cases pending in their continued legal battle against the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) made the announcement yesterday in a court filing that they now have oil in the pipeline under Lake Oahe.
This is just one more step towards ETP finally bringing to completion an overdue project that was delayed by months of protests, which included over 700 arrests for unlawful activity. While the company did not state when oil would be flowing to it’s destination in Illinois, they are in the final stages of putting the full pipeline into service.
Unfortunately, ETP has dealt with recent attempts to sabotage the pipeline. According to authorities in South Dakota and Iowa, attempts were made to blow holes through the pipeline with a blow torch before it went in the ground. Certainly such unlawful attempts do not help the already damaged image of so-called environmentalists who have opposed the pipeline and many of whom participated in not only unlawful, but sometimes violent activity.
The costs associated with protest activity have been enormous. For North Dakota alone, the cost is now in excess of $33 million. This is no small amount of money. Especially to a state that is currently dealing with budget shortfalls.
In a recent interview with the Flag Family’s Scott Hennen, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that the state will seek reimbursement from the federal government. If that doesn’t work, they will explore the option of suing the Army Corps of Engineers.
Hopefully all the pending legal cases will come to a swift end. The sooner those issues can be resolved, along with the completion of the pipeline, the sooner everyone involved can move on with their lives.
There’s no doubt the Dakota Access Pipeline has been an issue that will be long remembered in North Dakota’s history. Yet, for many, it’s an issue many North Dakotan’s would prefer to forget.