LINTON — New tonight, there was a heavy law enforcement presence Wednesday in Linton with one thing on everyone’s minds — oil.
Texas-based Energy Transfer wants to expand the captivity of the Dakota Access Pipeline from its current 600,000 barrels a day to over 1.1 million barrels. To accomplish this, the company wants to build a pumping station just outside of Linton — much to the dismay of the tribal community.
“We’re here for the long run. The protection of the young ones is what we have to look at. We’re here today representing the past, but yet we’re here today also protecting the future for our young ones,” said Mike Faith, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman.
In the meeting that was expected to last well into Wednesday night, tribal lawyers and members of the North Dakota public service commission cross-examined pipeline infrastructure consultants as well as members from Energy Transfer.
“Is that one type of risk associated with a pipeline, that it may have a negative occurrence, a spill or a leak?“ asked Tribal Attorney Timothy Purdon.
“A leak is a risk of a pipeline,” answered Charles Fry, V.P. of Liquid Transfer, Energy Transfer.
Also in attendance were those in support of the pumping station project who told us it will create additional jobs and add to the local economy.
“I’m a regular citizen of North Dakota and I have concerns about things as well too. This is about a pump station. There’s no more pipe going into the ground it can be built safely, by skilled workers. This is what they do, so my concerns are a lot less on that part,” said supporter Nathan Brandt.
Plans for the station call for it to be built on over 20 acres of land just outside of Linton. The enclosed station will house five, 6,000-gallon pumps and will be lined with sound deadening material. But some say that’s still not good enough.
Energy Transfer argued that the noise of the station will be less than that of a normal human conversation and that transferring oil by pipeline is much safer than that of rail.
But it’s not just the noise that has people concerned.
“I have a moral, legal, traditional obligation, to stop the destruction of this world. And I’m still not convinced that the pipeline spills in Walsh County, the pipeline spill in McKenzie County, the new gas line spills are ever going to be cleaned up. And there is no possible way to clean up bitumen out of the soil, and there is no possible way to increase pressure without causing additional damage,” said LaDonna Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Member.
If the project gets the green light, energy transfer hopes to start construction in the spring.