Bismarck – After months of waiting, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe got the news they were fearing…
“All in favor signify by saying Aye…Aye…all opposed signify by saying nay….the motion is approved”
And with that vote, Texas-based Energy Transfer has received the approval they were seeking to build a $40 million pump station near Linton, a station they say is necessary to increase the volume of oil the Dakota Access Pipeline can move.
“After one of the most extensive public hearings in commission history, to me it’s clear that this pipeline optimization project meets all of North Dakota’s sighting criteria, and is in the best interest of our citizens, and will move an enormous amount of oil and it will move it more safely and more efficiently,” said Commissioner Randy Christmann.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had been fighting the plan for months, saying it would increase the probability of a disastrous oil spill. Tim Purdon is the Tribe’s Attorney.
“The tribe throughout this process identified specific documents and safety information that would help the commission make its decision, the commission chose not to get those documents, the people downstream from the pipeline in Emmons County and at Standing Rock Reservation, I think they expected due diligence here and I don’t think they got it,” said Purdon
In court documents, Energy Transfer said the pump station would produce only “minimal adverse effects on the environment and the citizens of North Dakota.”
Allyson Two Bears, the Standing Rock Director of Environmental Regulations says they now need to be ready for anything.
“We’re gonna do our best to be prepared for this, and hope that we can get some cooperation with this company eventually to be able to let us sit at the table and let us participate in some of these exercises because now were facing the doubling, were facing twice the risk and now need to be prepared,” said Two Bears.
Commissioner Julie Fedorchak told the room she was assured that all the issues the commission had with the project were addressed properly before she gave her approval.
What’s hard is I know it’s not what Standing Rock wants, and I appreciate that, but you can’t make everybody happy in this job, we have a job to do, it’s based on the law, and it’s based on how projects and their applications meet or don’t meet the requirements of the law, it’s not a popularity contest, it’s a legal process.
Energy Transfer says they hope to start construction this spring and finish within 10 months.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe expressed disappointment in the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s decision to approve a permit for a new pump station that would nearly double the capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The PSC is required to consider what the doubling of the flow of oil in an existing pipeline would have on North Dakota family farms and ranches, and North Dakota citizens’ health and safety,” the Tribe said in a statement Wednesday. “Unfortunately, today’s decision demonstrates little or no consideration of these impacts.”
“Today, the PSC failed to do its job for the people of North Dakota,” the statement continues.
The Tribe says it is considering “additional legal recourse” in response to the commission’s decision, which permits Texas-based Energy Transfer to build a pump station in Emmons County that would allow the pipeline to carry up to 1.1 million barrels of oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois.
The company insists that doubling the pipeline’s capacity does not increase the risk of oil spills.
You can read the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s statement in its entirety below.