The contested piece of Dakota Access pipeline beneath the Missouri River/Lake Oahe is now loaded with oil and the company says it is commissioning the full pipeline in preparation for putting it into service.

The update was included in Monday's weekly status report to the federal court overseeing pipeline litigation between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While the lawsuit over the corps-issued permit to cross the water is not settled, the tribe has been unsuccessful in stopping the pipeline so far. Judge James E. Boasberg allowed the company to proceed with boring the last remaining stretch and ordered the weekly updates.

The company said Monday's status report completes that obligation.

The tribe, along with neighboring Cheyenne River Sioux, are now asking the federal court in Washington, D.C., for a summary judgement, claiming a directive to the corps under the Obama administration to delay pipeline completion and conduct a full environmental impact statement was improperly overturned by President Donald Trump.

Briefs in the case were to be filed this week, though no hearing is scheduled.

The river crossing was one of the final major work details on the 1,100-mile oil pipeline that will transport as many as 570,000 barrels of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois. The company had expected to start delivery in December, but was delayed by protest activities on the pipeline route and opposition from NODAPL encampments on and near the reservation. The project cost in excess of $3.8 billion.

(Reach Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or lauren@westriv.com.)

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