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article imageOil not flowing yet, but Dakota Access Pipeline already leaking

By Karen Graham     May 11, 2017 in Environment
It was only a matter of time before Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline had an oil spill or leak, and sure enough, it has happened. Funny thing about it, though - It happened last month and we're just now hearing about it.
The Associated Press is reporting the April 4 oil spill was relatively small, at approximately 84 gallons, and was quickly cleaned up, nor did it threaten any waterways.
According to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the spill was caused by a mechanical failure. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources posted a report about the spill on its website but didn't announce the spill to the public, despite an ongoing lawsuit by four Sioux tribes seeking to shut down the pipeline.
Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the state agency said on Wednesday that the agency doesn't routinely release information on oil spills unless there is a threat to the public's health, wildlife or public drinking water. Actually, Walsh said the leak didn't come as a surprise to him because such incidents have happened with other pipelines in the state. They must happen fairly often because according to Walsh, the state has 200 to 300 pipeline leaks every year.
Energy Transfer Partners is the company constructing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline extension.
Energy Transfer Partners is the company constructing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline extension.
Energy Transfer Partners
"This is what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill," said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II, according to VICE. "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."
Another worrying problem with the oil leak incident is that it took ETP two days to report the leak. State law demands that any pipeline leaks be reported immediately, but ETP was not censured in any way for its delay in reporting or the fact that the leak occurred.
However, Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in court, says, "It doesn't say much for the accountability of the company and the transparency of the regulatory process when these things happen and there's no notification to the public."
Kudos should go out to the reporter with the Aberdeen American News, a local outlet, who broke the story after finding the leak information on the state's spill website.
In the meantime, it has also been learned that ETP does not have emergency equipment in place to handle a major oil spill, should one occur. According to court documents, the company has one year after the oil starts flowing June 1 to get the equipment in place.
More about DAPL, South Dakota, 84 gallons, Energy Transfer Partners, Lawsuits
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