Dakota Access Pipeline Begins Commercial Operations

Dallas, TX – Energy Transfer Partners (who recently completed their official merger with Sunoco Logistics) announced today that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is now operational, carrying oil from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota to its end terminal in Patoka, Illinois. This news comes on the same day President Donald Trump is expected to announce the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.

Tests leading up to DAPL’s commercial launch involved at least three oil spills, which led one industry expert to speculate that there was a rush by the operators to bring it online.

Energy Transfer Partners has also come under fire recently for a series of severe spills associated with other pipeline projects. The threats to drinking water and the environment posed by oil spills were among the primary points raised by groups involved in the massive popular resistance to the pipeline.

The uprising against the Dakota Access Pipeline by indigenous tribes and their allies lasted over nine months, culminating in a massive resistance encampment of thousands of water protectors last fall and winter. In order to finish construction under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, Energy Transfer Partners relied on North Dakota recruiting hundreds of sheriffs’ deputies and police from surrounding states to carry out the forcible seizure of disputed treaty territory for the pipeline.

North Dakota armed forces assist Dakota Access in seizing Oceti Sakowin treaty territory occupied by water protectors – October 27, 2016

The use of military and police by the state of North Dakota to complete the pipeline by force led to hundreds of arrests, as well as many injuries resulting from widespread use of “less lethal” weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets, impact rounds, grenades, and water cannons.

A federal civil rights lawsuit brought against the Morton County Sheriff for excessive force is still ongoing. Many criminal charges against water protectors have since been dismissed at trial for lack of evidence, while hundreds of other cases are pending.

Documents leaked to The Intercept published last week show DAPL security contractor TigerSwan worked closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to encourage harsh government repression of the #NoDAPL movement. TigerSwan presentations also show they went to great lengths to “delegitimize the anti-DAPL movement” by encouraging infighting between native and non-native water protectors, and exploiting internal disagreements about what tactics to use to stop the pipeline. Pipeline security mercenaries were also directly involved in lobbying for harsher fines and sentences for those demonstrating against their employer.

DAPL safety information, including oil spill response plans, have been systematically withheld from the public after a federal court agreed to the pipeline company’s request for secrecy earlier this year. Energy Transfer Partners and law enforcement in several states allege that several acts of sabotage have been undertaken against DAPL over the last year.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne Rive Sioux Tribe, and other native nations are engaged in ongoing litigation at the federal level against the Army Corps of Engineers for approving the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing the Missouri River.

by Chris Schiano

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help sustain our horizontally-organized, non-profit media organization: supportourworknew

Below is Unicorn Riot's coverage of the #NoDAPL anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:

Watch our feature-length documentary, Black Snake Killaz: A #NoDAPL Story

March - May 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 January 2018 May 2018 July 2018 September 2019 July 2020 March 2021 April 2021 July 2021 September 2021 December 2021 July 2022 September 2022
More from Unicorn Riot 🦄