On the Standing Rock tribe's Dakota Pipeline Protest ...
Sun, 29 Jan 2017 04:46
I must state up front ... I am a strong proponent of Native American rights. Too often throughout history America's early inhabitants have been treated grossly unfairly ... and worse. My initial reaction to hearing about the Standing Rock/Dakota Access Pipeline protest was to support them. But then, as I always try to do I started researching - trying to verify the truth - separate fact from fiction. And as I researched I become more and more disappointed by what I learned.
What triggered my concerns, was finding out the tribes claims at the core of the ''protest'' - that the reservation's sole water source - the tribes water intake at Fort Yates, several miles downstream from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) - was threatened ... were not truthful. Numerous times in the early stages the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II made claims similar to this one in a Bismarck Tribune article:"... the tribe argues that consequences would be severe if the 30-inch pipeline carrying 450,000 barrels of oil per day were to leak near the reservation's water intake ... '' So I began to research further, to try to learn more about the facts and claims .... I started with the Dakota Access Pipeline website. What I found was a detailed, pretty straightforward and transparent source of information. But they also went a step further and offered links directly to the project filings and maps:In a review of the North Dakota filings - directly relevant to the tribes complaints - we can see a picture of detailed review, extensive input and engagement with various affected parties, and detailed historical, cultural, flora and fauna and other reviews. We can see information on the MANY changes made to the route to accommodate concerns raised in input obtained from those willing to give it. What seems missing is any significant involvement and input from the tribe during the 2 year approval process, despite dozens others with far less resources successfully petitioning to intervene, and filing affidavits to get their voices and input heard. The Standing Rock Tribe is not listed as a Petitioner to Intervene and offer an Affidavit. We can see the original application dated Dec. 22, 2014. We can see the filing of the: (1) North Dakota Wildlife Inventory and Habitat Assessment Field Survey Report, (2) North Dakota Tree and Shrub Inventory Report, and (3) Wetland and Waterbody Delineation Report for the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, along with the wetlands maps. We can see an exhaustive list of the Exhibits - files on all the different topics. We can listen to recordings of the hearings themselves. We can see information on the 17 different route adjustments made in response to input received during the input process. We can see the letter from the Director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota and State Historic Preservation Officer for North Dakota noting their receipt of ''two multi-volume reports on the Dakota Access Project, "2014 Dakota Access Class 11/111 Cultural Resources Inventory," and the "2015 Lakota Access Class II/lII Cultural Resources Inventory," and the Historical Society's commendation that ''These volumes represent a tremendous effort in cultural resources identification to date.'' We can see the filing of the detailed list of ''Wooded Areas Requiring Construction'' locations. We can see many updates, additions, amendments and corrections - including Route and Corridor adjustments, along with numerous amendments and adjustments to the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order. We can see the permits allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to use the existing Right of Ways for prior built Southwest Pipeline locations - that show the Dakota Pipeline is making every effort to build on land that had been subject to construction in the past - to minimize impact on undisturbed ground. A very important entry provides information on the procedure put in place during the approval process to address reports of significant cultural, historic, or burial sites and/or artifacts. We learn that a panel is convened immediately upon any such report - composed of members from the North Dakota Intertribal Reinterment Committee (NDIRC) - including members from the Sisseton Wahpeton and the Standing Rock tribes, along with members from the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) and the Morton County Sheriffs Department. We can see that this process was utilized and does work, contrary to the tribes assertions. When a claim was received on Friday afternoon, August 12, 2016 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement and other parties that possible human remains had been reported, construction was stopped, and the panel members immediately travelled to the site. Based on an on-site inspection - the members of the panel found the the area revealed no evidence of human remains, a burial, or other cultural remains. The panel reported their findings by early Friday evening prior - just hours after the calim was originally received. The process clearly worked. The Standing Rock tribe is a member of the panel, yet they continue to claim reports of cultural, historic and potential burial sites are not investigated. More recently we can see Inspectors are on the site regularly, reviewing and documenting that construction is occurring per the plan. The federal Court Judge investigated this information and much more in reviewing the tribes claims in support of an injunction stopping construction. And ... U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, after an extensive review, denied an attempt by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to halt construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline that passes near its reservation in North Dakota. Judge Boasberg first stated his sympathetic position toward the tribe:Early protests of the DAPL construction
"This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux. Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here."
Key points of the Judge's 58 page Order and decision:
THE DECISION -- The tribe argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers[Corps] had a duty under the National Historic Preservation Act to consult with the tribe before issuing a permit for the pipeline, but the judge wrote that the corps complied with the law. Contrary to the tribe's assertions that it was left out of the process, the Judge said, the corps has documented dozens of its attempts to engage with Standing Rock officials in consultations to identify historical resources at Lake Oahe and other places covered by the permit. The corps was not required to consider the effects along the entire pipeline route because the corps has jurisdiction only where the route crosses water, he noted.
CHANCES TO CONSULT -- Pipeline officials and the Corps gave Standing Rock tribal officials numerous chances to provide input in 2014, but tribal officials failed to participate in those opportunities, the judge wrote. Relations between the tribe and corps didn't improve in 2015, when tribal officials canceled several meetings, according to the ruling.
"Suffice it to say that the Tribe largely REFUSED to engage in consultations," he wrote. "It chose instead to hold out for more ..."
Dakota Access pipeline route
THE ROUTE -- Ninety-nine percent of the route for the Dakota Access pipeline crosses private land, and 48 percent of it has already been completed, the ruling noted. The ruling said Dakota Access hired professional archaeologists to survey the entire route through the Dakotas and much of Iowa and Illinois for cultural resources. When the surveys revealed previously unidentified resources, the company changed the route on its own 140 times in North Dakota alone to avoid them, the judge said, and the Corps ordered the company to change the route where it crossed the James River to avoid burial sites there. You can read the many more detailed findings by the Judgein his Memorandum and Order here.TO REVIEW so far -- We have a Federal Court judge, who admits to being sympathetic to the tribe, completing an exhaustive review on the tribe's claims. In a 58 page order he held their claims were not only unfounded - but in many cases the opposite of what the tribe asserted.Once again, I have to repeat ... I strongly support native American rights. I believe this protest, based on dubious claims ... does considerable harm to legitimate Native issues.
The claims there are historic, cultural and burial sites being bulldozed in direct disregard to the tribes claims are simply false. Much of the route is withing existing ''Southwest Pipeline'' and ''Northern Border'' pipeline right of way - on land that was excavated long ago. The Dakota pipeline follows existing right of way in many places for an older pipeline built in same place, ans specifically exactly follows the Northern Border pipeline right of way - built in 1982 - in the section leading up to, and the crossing of, the Missouri river.
And even IF historic or cultural sites or artifacts were to be suspected - the approval includes a process, as outlined above - that works. A review board that investigates claims - that includes the State Historical Preservation Office, The Tribal Burial Commission, the Sheriff AND members of the Standing Rock and Sisseton Wahpeton tribes. Then there is the issue at thevery HEART of the tribes claims ... the water intake at Fort Yates, just downstream from the pipeline's crossing of the river (where the pipeline will be buried some 90+ feet below the river). The tribe's KEY claim is the pipeline threatens what they say is the sole source of water for the reservation - the Fort Yates water intake, which is a few miles downstream from the DAPL river crossing near Cannonball, ND - the site of the protest.
It is very hard though for the water intake at the heart of the tribes claims to be threatened if it does not exist.
Which is a fact - and the tribe full well knows it. The water intake at Fort Yates - the one the tribes says is the primary source of the water for the reservation - is to be shut down in the coming MONTHS.
DAPL river crossing, Fort Yates water intake and new water intake and treatment plant in Mobridge S. Dakota
The most recent Standing Rock Water System improvements - constructed by the tribe with $29.2 million shown above plus at least another $7.2 million awarded in 2016 to complete the final leg of the water pipeline under construction by the tribe's water utility, Standing Rock Water - is due for completion by end of the year. These federal government funded improvements include the new high tech, sand filtered, deep water intake and new 5 million gallon per day water plant at Mobridge that has been operating since 2010. Along with the new 5 million gallon storage reservoir in Kline Butte, and new water lines to connect them. Add the new water pipelines to connect this new state of the art water system to the tribes existing water distribution system, including the final leg - the water pipeline to Firt Yates - now under construction.
Dave Rosencranz, the Dakota's Area manager for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, has stated currently the Standing Rock community is being served by two Missouri River water intakes but that the Fort Yates intake, which is nearest the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing, is slated to be shut down. ''It's basically at the end of its life.''Bureau of Reclamation engineer Tom Thompson has noted the Mobridge intake and treatment plant are already operating and serving a part of the Standing Rock community, and will soon be serving all of it. Thompson said that a pipeline from the Mobridge facility currently ends at the North Dakota/South Dakota state line, but the final segment is under construction and expected to be ''done by the end of the year,'' adding that once the final segment of the pipeline now under construction is complete, the Fort Yates intake will be shut down.Thompson has stressed this project has been in the works for more than a decade, and was prompted when serious drought conditions in 2002 lowered water levels in the Missouri River system to the point where the Fort Yates intake was unable to draw water. He has noted the Mobridge intake was state of the art design, and much deeper than the one Fort Yates, and would be unaffected during droughts.
The simple facts are the Fort Yates water intake - again the very heart of the tribes claims - will be shut down the end of the year. And the tribe full well knows it. The heart of the tribes claims - that the pipeline - which is buried 90' under the river where it crosses - threatens the tribes entire source of water .... is a knowing lie perpetrated by the tribe.
These are well documented, irrefutable facts. The tribe KNOWS their claims are untruthful. And yet they continue to make them.
Additionally, it should be noted the Standing Rock tribe has such extensive water rights and resources that they have their own water utility. Funded as I noted, in significant part by tens of millions of dollars in outright, non-repayable, Federal government grants. The Standing Rock tribe is a sophisticated water manager.Standing Rock Reservation - appx 3,571 sq. miles and more than 2.2 million acres - 6th largest in the US.
People also need to understand that this is not a small, unsophisticated and beleaguered underdog group ... the Standing Rock Reservation is more than 2.2 million acres - covering 3,571 square miles across two states - with significant and extensive natural resources and water holdings:
"The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is a Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota Indian reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States. The sixth-largest reservation in land area in the United States, Standing Rock includes all of Sioux County, North Dakota, and all of Corson County, South Dakota, plus slivers of northern Dewey and Ziebach Counties in South Dakota, along their northern county lines at Highway 20.The reservation has a land area of 9,251.2 square kilometers (3,571.9 sq mi) and a population of 8,250 as of the 2000 census"
THE TRIBES DESCRIPTION -- "The Standing Rock Sioux Nation straddles the North Dakota/South Dakota border on the western portion of both states. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has two casinos located near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and the Grand River Casino near Wakpala, South Dakota. The Standing Rock has a beautiful land base which includes Missouri River, Cannon Ball River, Grand River, and many creeks. "
And while the Standing Rock Tribe, like too many others, certainly has suffered from ever changing 'agreements' with the Federal government in long past times ... the Standing Rock Reservation boundaries - which this pipeline does not enter or cross - have remained the same since 1889.
Many have asked the question ''why hasn't the media reported on the pipeline protests at Standing Rock'' ... while I don't have the a firm answer, the most likely answer is they have done the same investigation I have, and determined the tribes claims are not truthful, and with the ''Earth Justice'' organization behind their lawsuit, are unwilling to promote a situation which has been held by a Federal Court Judge ... to be untrue.
The ''Cannonball Pit Stop'' gas station - owned by Tribal Chairman David Archambault II.
AN INTERESTING SIDE NOTE -- The protest site and encampment at the river crossing is near the small town of Cannonball, ND - population appx 800. It is in a fairly remote area. There is a single small convenience store and gas station less than 2 miles from the protest site - the Cannonball Pit Stop - which benefits greatly from the protest camp and traffic. The place the thousands of protesters have been purchasing supplies, gasoline and diesel fuel from is owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's very own chairman, David Archambault II.
AN UPDATE - ON PIPELINE SAFETY IN THE US ... an update that takes a similarly documented and referenced, factual look at pipeline safety. Lets get started ... There are more than 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the US. According to the US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in 2015 there were 72,563 miles of crude oil pipelines and 62,588 miles of pipelines transporting finished petroleum products. Adding the other associated 'hazardous liquids' brings the total pipeline for this category to just short of 208,000 miles. According to the Association of Oil Pipelines in 2013, we moved about 8.3 billion barrels of crude oil via pipeline compared to about 291 million barrels of crude oil moved by rail in 2013, according to theAssociation of American Railroads. These amounts include only the crude oil products transported, and not the finished petroleum products shipped back out once refined (another appx. 6.9 billion barrels in 2013). As the data and facts show, pipeline transported crude oil volume was about 29 times greater than rail oil volume in 2013.OIL PIPELINE SAFETY FACTS:
''Total deliveries by liquids pipeline of crude oil, refined products such as gasoline or diesel fuel, and natural gas liquids such as ethane totaled 16.2 billion barrels (nearly 680 billion gallons) in 2014, an 8.1% increase from 2013.'' ... from the ASSOCIATION OF OIL PIPE LINES (AOPL) / AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (API)2015 U.S. Liquids Pipeline Usage & Mileage ReportMore details:In 2014 an amazing 99.99869% of crude oil and petroleum products delivered by pipeline reached their destination safely.Pipeline incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of operator facilities are down 52% since 1999In 2015, 71% of pipeline incidents occurred and were contained wholly within a pipeline operator's facility and posed no threat to the outside environment.Corrosion related incidents outside of operator facilities are down 68% Since 1999Out of appx 16 billion barrels delivered there were only appx 130 pipeline incidents in 2015 that affected the outside environment. More than 65% were less than 5 Barrels and 83% of these were less than 50 barrels.Just 5% of spills - less than 7 incidents out of 130 total - were larger than 500 barrels, with appx. 2,000 barrels or larger typically considered a major or significant spill.Pipeline incidents larger than 500 barrels are down 32% from 2011 to 2015In 2015, across the entire 200,000+ miles of oil pipelines and nearly 16 billion barrels of oil delivered, there were a total of just 11 spills that were 500 barrels or larger.A few very large pipeline incidents, in most cases caused by natural or outside forces beyond a pipeline operator's control, skew the data to appear worse than it really is. An example would the the Quebec rail disaster - caused by cascading human failure, serious affected the overall safety rate of railroad transportation of oil.So lets make some sense of how the safety data relates to the Dakota Access Pipeline. First, the DAPL is approximately 1,172 miles from its start in North Dakota to its terminus in Illinois. The U.S Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Administration, PHMSA Pipeline Safety DATA ... as shown in more easily understood format in the linked AOPL/API industry publication ... tells us (page 38) there were an average 0.000111 pipeline incidents of greater than 500 barrel spills, per mile in 2015, across the entire liquid fuels pipeline network. Applying that safety statistic to the DAPL's 1,172 miles shows us that historically, on average there would be appx 0.13 spills greater than 500 barrels per year. Or one spill larger than 500 barrels every appx. 7.69 years. The PHMSA Pipeline Safety data also tells us the average chance of a greater than 50 barrel spill in 2015 was 0.000361 per mile. Again, for the 1,172 mile DAPL, this would show we could expect 0.42 spills greater than 50 barrels per year. Or one spill larger than 50 barrels every appx. 2.38 years. Keep in mind these historical incident rates reflect the entire 200,000 plus miles of various oil pipelines - more than 60% of which are older. The DAPL reflects the latest state of the art materials, construction, and safety controls. Its actual incident rate should be significantly lower. What is remarkable is that in 2015, across the entire 200,000+ miles of oil pipeline's, and nearly 16 billion barrels of oil delivered, there were a total of just 11 spills that were 500 barrels or larger. Once again - these are hard, real numbers from the U.S Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Administration, PHMSA Pipeline Safety division. They have collected decades of historical data up to and thru 2015. All of their data is openly available here for anyone wishing to investigate themselves. This data is presented in the ASSOCIATION OF OIL PIPE LINES (AOPL) / AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (API) Annual Liquids Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report & Strategic Plan. This simpler, easier to understand review of the PHMSA is great reading for anyone that would like to learn more about the real facts and data regarding oil pipeline safety in the US ...UPDATE 10/27/16 - SAY ANYTHING BLOG:I've been remiss in noting an important source... that actually got me started on this research. Please take time to visitSayanything Blog... on Facebook or the web!UPDATE 10/27/16 - ''WATER IS LIFE'' .... This phrase is at the very heart of this debate - in so many ways. It is a phrase people, good and bad, can agree on. The Standing Rock tribe clearly knows and agrees with this - it is at the very core of the tribes claims - the claims that are the heart of this protest movement.
As well they should ... between 2009 and 2016 they received nearly $40 million dollars in grants - outright gifts from the federal government and the good people of the United States - grants that provided that the tribe could build their very own new high tech water s#NoDAPL ystem to replace an old, unreliable and failing system and provide a reliable and safe source of water to the tribe and reservation.
The tribe built this new water system - starting with $29.2 million in grants in 2009 and finishing later this year after another appx $7 million in grants.
This new water system includes a new high tech, filtered, deep water water intake in Lake Oahe near Mobridge SOUTH Dakota and the nearby new 5 million gallon per day water treatment plant, along with a new 5 million gallon water storage reservoir at Kline Butte and new water pipelines to connect them all.
The tribe also received gifts to complete a new waterline to connect the new storage reservoir to the tribes existing water distribution system, including the final leg - a water pipeline to the Fort Yates area, due to be completed late this year.
Upon completion of this last segment, the Fort Yates water intake will be shut down - which the tribe has known about since 2003, and with certainty since 2009.
I'll remind readers that the Fort Yates water intake is at the center of the tribes claims that sparked this protest movement ... the claim that the pipeline river crossing just upstream from the Fort Yates water intake threatened the tribes entire source of water for the reservation.
It seems very difficult to threaten something that does not exist. And the tribe knew the Fort Yates water intake would cease to exist later this year.
Shouldn't truthfulness be the very bedrock for such a protest as this?
The new Standing Rock water system, provided for by a very large gift to the Standing Rock tribe from the good people from the United States of America, insures and provides a state of the art new complete water system, guaranteeing the tribe a reliable, safe water source for generations to come.
It is sad that the tribe repays this significant gift with a lack of truthfulness, and incites protest based on the same. From the May 24, 2010 issue of the ''Inyan Woslata Eyapaha'' Newsletter:
STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE - Water Treatment Plant to Break Ground in June --Drinkable water has been a long-standing issue for the people of the Standing Rock reservation. There have been times in history when citizens of Standing Rock have had to boil water to ensure its drinkability or purchase bottled water. Those days may soon become history themselves, however, as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) prepares to open a major water treatment plant. Chairman Charles W. Murphy says the groundbreaking represents an important milestone for the Tribe. ''We are very pleased to see this project move forward. We've come a long way from the day when our Tribe suffered devastating events like the loss of water for our citizens during the Thanksgiving holiday several years ago. We look forward to the improvements to our quality of life.''
On June 2nd, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., there will be a Groundbreaking Ceremony ... to celebrate the beginning of construction of the heart of the ''core facilities'' which will provide a long awaited permanent solution to the drinking water shortages of the Standing Rock Reservation, ultimately providing safe, clean, dependable drinking water to all residents of the entire reservation in both North and South Dakota.
Bureau of Reclamation release on Standing Rock water system grants ...
The ability to construct the Water Treatment Plant and Indian Memorial Intake Pump Station became possible as a result of the nearly $19 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds that were received by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The contract was bid on March 17th and came in 5% under the Engineer's Estimate; construction could result in over 170 jobs for one of the most economically challenged areas of America.'' Press release on the $29.2 million federal grant - U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation -- Standing Rock Rural Water System to construct the core components of the new Standing Rock water system.Residents review routing information
UPDATE 10/28/16 - BISMARK ROUTING ... Another challenge offered numerous times in response to my article is that the early draft Bismark crossing was found unsuitable and was moved to near tribal lands. The claims as to why thes people say it was moved run a wide gamut. I think its worth while to Public hearing on routinginclude my reply on this topic here: First, I suggest you read the Environmental Assessment Report. The EA is more than 1,200 pages and discusses the many valid and legitimate reasons, legal and otherwise, the early routing near Bismarck was found unsuitable. The Corp studied and investigated the Bismarck option in detail and clearly outlined the reasons it was found unsuitable. That they did so only strengthens their approval of the crossing at Cannonball. It shows they review and consider all aspects before issuing an approval. This is exactly the process they underwent at the current crossing site, and found it to be safe."The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated the Bismarck route and concluded it was not a viable option for many reasons. One reason mentioned in the agency's environmental assessment is the proximity to wellhead source water protection areas that are avoided to protect municipal water supply wells.
In addition, the Bismarck route would have been 11 miles longer with more road crossings and waterbody and wetland crossings. It also would have been difficult to stay 500 or more feet away from homes, as required by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the corps states.
The Bismarck route also would have crossed an area considered by federal pipeline regulators as a ''high consequence area,'' which is an area determined to have the most significant adverse consequences in the event of a pipeline spill."
For some a picture is worth a thousand words ... here is a graphic from the Environmental Assessment that paints the picture of why the Lake Oahe Cannonball crossing was chosen and Bismarck was not ...
Excerpt from the DAPL Environmental Assessment comparing Bismarck route to Lake Oahe/Cannonball routing
The Lake Oahe/Cannonball option compared to the Bismarck option:
Is 10.6 miles shorterFollowed existing, prior excavated Right of Way for an additional nearly 38 milesReduced the amount of natural resource assets (''greenfields'') crossed by 48.6 miles.Has 11 fewer floodplain crossingsHas 33 fewer waterbodies crossedHas 24 fewer wetlands crossedHas 27 fewer transportation crossingsHas 27 fewer boreholes (at $35,000 ea)Meets federal routing requirements, which Bismarck did notIn the same Bismarck Tribune article the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said:"... the tribe argues that consequences would be severe if the 30-inch pipeline carrying 450,000 barrels of oil per day were to leak near the reservation's water intake ... "
Yet as the tribe's Chairman, Mr. Archambault knows full well the water intake at Fort Yates, just downstream from the DAPL crossing ... the water intake that is the core of the tribes claims the pipeline will threaten their water supply ... will be closed in the coming months upon the tribe's completion of the tribes water pipeline connecting the Fort Yates area water system to the tribes new Mobridge South Dakota, water intake, water treatment plant, water storage reservoir and water pipeline distribution system.
The article headline claims ''ND SPILLS WENT UNREPORTED'' while in the body they claim ''state documents show'' North Dakota '' recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years'' that went unreported to the public.
AP Report on alleged "unreported" spills Oct 25, 2013
The reality is, however, something altogether different than their sensationalistic headline claim. The truth is these spill did not go unreported - the article itself notes that ND did receive and record the reports and data on each of these spills. The truth is the data was simply not all released to the public, as the Health Dept felt most were so small - an average spill of just 7 barrels per incident - as to not warrant reporting to the public. Additionally, the AP's report noted the data they reviewed showed; (a.) the majority, more than 50%, of these incidents occurred within the operators sites and presented no exposure to the public, and, (b.) the majority of the oil spilled in these incidents (74%) was recovered, leaving an average of just 1.88 barrels unrecovered per incident. Opponents and critics of the DAPL continue to use this claim - that a large number of spills are unreported in ND - as evidence that the PHMSA pipeline safety is inaccurate, and pipelines are much less safe than claimed. THIS CLAIM IS UNEQUIVOCALLY FALSE ... as the AP story itself shows. Not reporting all incidents to the public, does not mean the incidents are not reported and made part of the safety database. It should be noted that ND officials almost immediately responded to this story, and - within weeks - announced a new database that publicly reports ALL incident data.
So while we are here, since we have actual North Dakota Data ... lets review what that data shows... Here is the ND pipeline data as presented in the AP story:
"North Dakota also had 291 "incidents" this year that leaked a total of about 2,209 barrels of oil. Data show that all but 490 barrels were contained and cleaned up at the well site. In 2012, there were 168 spills reported that leaked 1,089 barrels of oil; all but 376 barrels were contained on site, data show."
Conclusions we can draw, based on facts and statement from the article:
During a 21 month period the story claims there were a total of 459 incidents where there was a spill - an average of appx 21 per month.There was a total of 3,298 barrels spilled across 459 incidents - an average of just over 7 barrels per incident.Out of 3,298 barrels spilled, 2,432 barrels were recovered, leaving a net total of just 866 barrels over 21 months, and across 459 incidents - a net spilled and not recovered per incident of just 1.9 barrels.The story also notes "a little more than half of the spills companies reported to North Dakota occurred "on-site," where a well is connected to a pipeline, and most were fewer than 10 barrels."
If we assume that means 55% of spills occurred within the operators well site and do not affect the public (the nat'l data shows 71% of all incidents occur on the operators site), then we get the following statistics regarding spills affecting the public over the 21 month period:
A total 252 incidents affecting the public (avg 144 per year)A total 1,813 barrels spilled (avg spill of just 7.2 barrels per incident)A total of 1,338 barrels recovered, leaving just 475 barrels spilled and not recovered (avg 1.8 barrels per incident)These numbers must be put into the perspective that more than 25 million barrels of oil were produced and transported during that 21 month period - and in the spills that affected the public, just 1,813 barrels in total were spilled, with just 475 barrels unrecovered. More than 25 million barrels produced and transported - most thru pipelines - and just 475 barrels were spilled and not recovered. But pipelines aren't safe. They threaten everything ... right?
UPDATE 11/1/16 - A response to the EPA comment letter: I am seeing numerous claims referring to the allegation the EPA ''sided with'' the Standing Rock tribe and objected to the DAPL approval by The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) such as this: ''Here is theMarch 11 letter from EPAto the US Army Corps of Engineers which refutes the narrative that refutes the notion that a proper environmental study was done. ''My response to one such post:
EPA caused Animas River Spill (source Wikipedia Commons)
First, the EPA's record recently on 'protecting' water is simply put - terrible. The Animas river spill directly caused by the EPA and their response and coverup are legendary: ''The Environmental Protection Agency's colossal, three million gallon spill of mining waste containing lead, arsenic and other toxic substances into the Animas River in Colorado. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency is very sorry:'We want to reassure everyone that the EPA does take full responsibility for the spill,' which took place at the long-closed mine north of Durango, she said. 'No agency could be more upset about this incident and more dedicated to doing our job and doing it right.'''
In the EPA's response letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the EPA also shows a similar failure to understand the requirements of the law. The EPA claims the "Draft EA focused almost exclusively on the two DAPL crossings of the Missouri River" ... which is exactly correct. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction only over jurisdictional waters of the U.S. - which for this project are primarily the DAPL river crossings. The EPA attempts to tell the USACE to exert control over lands they simply have NO JURISDICTION over. Less than 3% of the 1,172 miles of the DAPL are under USACE jurisdiction.
The EPA admonishes that USACE must require an "emergency response" plan from Dakota Access, adding a multitude of emergency response "suggestions" (read 'demands') including:
"We recommend that Dakota Access adequately plan, prepare and train for such an event and that the revised Draft EA include a requirement to work with the local water districts on spill response strategies and equipment specific to the drinking water intakes in and near the project. Further, we recommend the NEPA analysis describe additional mitigation measures regarding emergency preparedness to reduce the impacts in the event of a spill. "
... yet admits the EA directly references the Dakota Access "Facilities Response Plan" ... a 180 page plan which addresses these routing requirements and more - available here.The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provided their own in depth Environmental Assessment and comments to USACE on the Draft USACE Environmental Assessment noted:
"In the unlikely event of a pipeline release, Dakota Access will initiate its FRP to contain and clean up the spill. To minimize impacts to aquatic resources, appropriate remedial measures will be implemented to meet federal and state standards designed to ensure protection of aquatic biota."
While the EPA inaccurately talked about Dakota Access not having an emergency response plan. The EPA 'letter' response makes many specific recommendations (read demands) yet acknowledge they:
"... recognize that except in the case of a major flood and erosion event, depth of cover surveys would not be applicable to Dakota Access's Missouri River and Lake Oahe crossings due to the use of horizontal directional drilling to bore well below the river / lake bottom"
Despite this, in the same paragraph they "recommend that the revised Draft EA assess and discuss the potential for ... scour and consider the inclusion of on-going depth of cover surveys associated with hydrological events."
What kind of "major flood and erosion event" is going to "scour" and erode down 92' below the river bottom. Simply silly.
The EPA next lectures about proper "Environmental Justice" review ... and "tribal coordination" ... alleging tribes were not contacted or involved. Which we know for a fact is complete rubbish. A federal Court Judge has ruled other tribes DID participate with no problems, and the Standing Rock tribe had every chance to participate and refused.
The EPA also claims " the methodology did not discuss how impacts to water resources were more broadly considered in developing the preferred alignment." Which is abjectly ridiculous. The EA addressed routing in great detail. The fact 17 major route adjustments and many more minor ones were made, proves the EPA is simply wrong.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service addressed the silliness of the EPA's claim in their own Assessment and comments:
"Dakota Access utilized a sophisticated and proprietary Geographic Information System (GIS) based routing program to determine the baseline pipeline route based on multiple publicly available and purchased datasets. Datasets utilized during the Project GIS routing analysis included engineering (e.g., existing pipelines, railroads, karst, and power lines, etc.), environmental (e.g., critical habitat, fault lines, state parks, national forests, brownfields, national registry of historic places, etc.), and land (e.g., dams, airports, cemeteries, schools, mining, and military installations, etc.). "
The USFWS continued:
"In general, the preferred route for the pipeline would follow features identified as low risk, avoid or minimize crossing features identified as moderate risk, and exclude features identified as high risk. For example, the existing pipelines dataset was weighted as a low risk feature in the GIS routing program so that the routing tool followed existing pipelines to the extent possible to minimize potential impacts. An example of a high risk feature of the datasets utilized in the GIS routing program is the federally designated critical habitat dataset. Since federally designated critical habitat was weighted for this Project as high risk, the GIS routing program excluded any critical habitat from the baseline pipeline route to avoid impacts. "
But wait! ... there is (much) more ... from the USFWS:
"Route Alternative 2 (Appendix A) is the preferred route which is the result of incorporating route modifications based on USFWS avoidance and minimization recommendations of potential impacts to grassland and wetland easements of Route Alternative 1."
"Dakota Access was able to adjust the centerline route and avoid all [initially identified] easements in North Dakota ... in February 2015 [new data] disclosed six new easements ... in North Dakota. While Dakota Access was unable to reroute completely around four ... grassland easements due to constructability limitations, USFWS recommended avoidance of the grassland easements, therefore Dakota Access adjusted construction techniques at the grassland easements (i.e. bore or HDD). Therefore all surface impacts to grassland easements are avoided by the preferred route. " You can access the USFWS's own detailed 180 page response to the USACE request for comments on their Draft Environmental Assessment at this link.Unlike the EPA's cursory and minimal comments, the USFWS coordinated and cooperated extensively with Dakota Access - cooperatively working with them to identify impacts. And coordinating with Dakota Access, by route modifications and/or changing construction methods (at significant increased cost), to made adjustments to avoid all impacts identified by USFWS.
The EPA did NO substantive research or work. And most of their assertions were simply false - and were addressed extensively in the process.
The EPA even admits the Draft "EA notes that there is minimal risk of an oil spill associated with this project" and acknowledges the "... low probability of a significant spill reaching the Missouri River and lakes..."
AGAIN, this is from the same EPA who brought us the massive Animas River gold mine toxic release disaster.
It is extremely ironic that the same people that attacked the EPA (and I am one of them) over their toxic gold mine spill debacle, now see the EPA as credible.
The USACE has no responsibility beyond considering the input from other agencies. Just as with ALL public comment.
The USFWS extremely detailed 40 page response essentially refutes almost every claim the EPA makes in their pathetic and uninformed 5 page letter.
The simple truth is the EPA's comments are seriously flawed, are not accurate, do not reflect the law, and are soundly refuted by other independent, detailed and credible work by those like the US Fish and Wildlife Service - who have a very significant and real stake in potential impacts from the Dakota Access Pipeline.
UPDATE 11/2/16 - But there is another choice ... TRAINS!
Fraser Research Bulletin Aug 2015 report on safety of oil transport between pipelines and trains.
Another claim I am seeing some make is there are other options - most often stating that we can ship this oil by rail.
For many reasons, including safety, cost, capacity and the disruption to other markets such as farmers trying to get their crops, which cannot be shipped by pipeline, to market ... that is simply not true.
Transporting oil and gas by pipeline or rail is in general quite safe.But when the safety of transporting oil and gas by pipelines and rail is compared, taking into consideration the amount of product moved, pipelines are found to be the much safer transportation method.Specifically, rail is found to be over 4.5 times more likely to experience an occurrence when compared to pipelines, and;Over 70 percent of pipeline occurrences result in spills of 1 m3 or less, and only 17 percent of pipeline occurrences take place in actual line pipe, meaning that the vast majority of spills occur in facilities, which may have secondary containment mechanisms and procedures.Many claim ... but ''they'' never ... followed by a myriad of things ''they'' allegedly did not do, including that ''they'' never reviewed alternative methods of transporting this oil. The truth is ''they'' - being the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) - most certainly did exactly that. On page 17 (or 1,261) of the DAPL Envirnmental Assessment - in ''Alternative 3'' - ''they'' discussed exactly that - trains. Here is what ''they'' had to say:Rail oil tanker cars (Wikipedia Commons)
Alternative 3 '' Rail Transportation
Reliance on rail as a transportation method in the Williston Basin has drastically increased in recent years, carrying a negligible percentage of the overall market share as recently as 2010 to nearly 60% of the overall market share by mid-2014 (Nixon, 2014).
The rise in the use of rail as a primary transportation method has been driven in large part by the rapid increase in production of crude oil coupled with a LACK OF pipeline capacity to account for additional supplies.
Negative impacts from the growth in popularity of rail as a method of long-distance transportation of crude oil include delays that disrupt the agricultural sector, reductions in coal-fired power plant inventories, and significant production issues in the food production industry. In August 2014, reports filed with the federal government indicated that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway had a backlog of 1,336 rail cars waiting to ship grain and other products, while Canadian Pacific Railway had a backlog of nearly 1,000 cars (Nixon, 2014). For industries, such as those listed, in which the use of pipelines is not an option, the only viable alternative would be increased reliance on trucking, which would exacerbate some of the issues listed in the section above.
With 10 to 12 trains currently leaving the state per day carrying Bakken crude, the DAPL Project would represent a 50 to 60% increase in the number of trains transporting crude oil out of the state, likely exacerbating issues with delays (Horwath and Owings, 2014). Rail operations on the scale of the DAPL Project do not exist in the U.S. An oil-by-rail facility designed to handle an average of 360,000 bpd has been proposed in the Port of Vancouver, Washington. Known as the Vancouver Energy proposal, the project would be the largest rail terminal in the country (Florip, 2014). A rail transportation alternative to handle the volumes of the DAPL Project would require the design and construction of 125 to 158% of that of the Vancouver Energy proposal. A facility of this size would incur its own environmental consequences.
From a safety standpoint, railroad transport consistently reports a substantially higher number of transportation accidents than pipelines (DOT, 2005). A series of major accidents taking place in 2013-2014 in Canada and the U.S. has heightened concern about the risks involved in shipping crude by rail (Fritelli, 2014). Increases in rail traffic necessary to transport the volume of crude oil proposed by the DAPL project would increase the emissions of combustion products due the use of diesel engines which could have an adverse impact on air quality in the region.
This alternative would also directly affect communities along utilized rail lines by increasing noise and creating transportation delays due to the substantial increasing rail traffic across railroad crossings of roads. While rail tanker cars are a vital part of the short-haul distribution network for crude oil, pipelines are a more reliable, safer, and more economical alternative for the large volumes transported and longd istances covered by the DAPL Project. This alternative would create delays on the rail lines due to the substantial increase in rail traffic, resulting in shipping delays in other industries such as agriculture thatcannot rely on pipeline transportation. Furthermore, the purpose and need of the Project would not be attainable with the current oil-by-rail infrastructure in the country because rail loading facilities of sufficient size do not exist.
As such, rail transportation is not considered a viable alternative.
UPDATE - 11/30/16: On the Sept. 2014 Dakota Access meeting with the Standing Rock tribe ...
A typical supporters commentary on the Sept 2014 initial informational meeting between Dakota Access and the Standing Rock Tribe.
Protesters claim the recording shows the tribe said they didn't want the pipeline period, and that should be all they have to do. But as is so often the case the protesters were less than truthful, neglecting to include some very important, key facts surrounding this meeting.
First, we should be clear just what this meeting was ... an initial informational meeting by Dakota Access to provide information on the project. It was nothing more than Dakota Access's early outreach to introduce the project to various groups and entities. In this meeting the Vice President of Engineering for the Dakota Access Pipeline Chuck Frey, said they were there to ''detail the project and answer questions.'' After being informed the pipeline was going to be routed north of the Standing Rock Reservation boundary, Standing Rock tribal Chairman, David Archambault II's replied:
"This is something that the tribe is not supporting. We'll listen to your presentation and then ask our Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to help remind your company of the federal laws that include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act."
Phyllis Young, a Lakota, activist and former tribal councilwoman for the Standing Rock Sioux. Photo Charmaine Robledo - Mountain Sky Area, UMC
Then we hear from Tribal elder Phyllis Young, who first, demanded a Section 106 review and that they be included in the process:
"It was very astute for you to go around the northern boundary of Standing Rock as we see it in modern times. But this is treaty territory. Those are ancestral lands. So you are bound by Section 106, by the laws of this country, to adhere to those laws that are federal laws for the protection of our people. We are not stupid people, we are not ignorant people. Do not underestimate the people of Standing Rock. We know what's going on, and we know what belongs to us"
Young continued saying the tribe would ask they be consulted on the route, ''because we know where our significant sites are. This is on treaty land. If we know your route, we can help you identify important sites.''
Which is exactly what the DAPL and Corps did. But Young was far from finished: ''... this is our property, this is our homeland. And we will do whatever we have to to stop this pipeline. We will put on our best warriors in the front. We are the vanguard. We are Hunkpapa Lakota. That means the horn of the buffalo. That's who we are ... We will put forward our young people, our young warriors, who understand the weasel words, now, of the English language, who know that one word can mean seven things. We understand the forked tongue that our grandfathers talked about. We know about talking out of both sides of your mouth, smiling with one side of your face. We know all the tricks of the wasichu world. Our young people have mastered it. I also have the collective memory of the damages that have occurred to my people. And I will never submit to any pipeline to go through my homeland.''
After asking for proper review, and to be consulted ... Young continued, with overt threats.
As was always required, the Corps subjected the DAPL to, and completed, a full Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) review - exactly as the tribe demanded. The Standing Rock tribe had EVERY opportunity to participate, just as did other entities, groups, individuals and many other tribes - ALL who managed to participate and offer input. Input that resulted in 17 initial route changes and 140 smaller changes within the route.
There was just one problem. After the Standing Rock tribe GOT the Section 106 NHPA review they demanded, and promised to cooperate with, they failed to do so.
Regardless, the Army Corps kept trying ... going well beyond the lawful requirements - making many attempts to meet with the tribe and gain their cooperation, input and participation. Despite these extraordinary efforts, the tribe failed to meaningfully engage ... and in many cases refused to do so ... during the years long permitting review process. Haphazardly on occasion the tribe, thru THPO Young, would respond, but rarely followed thru. In the end the tribe failed to participate and offer input in the very Section 106 NHPA review they demanded.
The Corps, having found Dakota Access had followed and met every law, regulation, requirement and rule, approved the permit in June 2016.
The tribe then filed a lawsuit in federal Court that claimed they were not properly consulted, as required in the Section 106 NHPA review. The detailed record, the evidence filed from both sides, shows this calim to be absolutely and unequivocally untrue. The federal Court Judge, despite his admission he was sympathetic to the tribe, agreed.
Ruling in a 58 page Memorandum, the Judge held, not only did the record show the tribes claims they were not consulted, were unsupported ... but the evidence showed these claims were simply untruthful. The Judge ruled the evidence showed the Army Corps made numerous attempts, over and above the requirements of the law, to gain engagement from the tribe, but the tribe failed and/or refused to participate.
The Court ruled the US Army Corps DID complete a full and proper Section 106 NHPA review as required under the law, and that the Corp MET all of the requirements of the law regarding consultation with the tribe. A three Judge Federal Court of Appeals panel agreed.
The tribe had EVERY right and OPPORTUNITY to participate and voice their concerns in BOTH the "public comments" part of the permitting process review, AND in the Section 106 NHPA review the tribe demanded in the Sept 2014 meeting. Yet despite every opportunity to participate the tribe refused and or failed to do so.
It is worth repeating ... in the 2014 tape, the Standing Rock Tribe demanded the Army Corp do a full Section 106 NHPA review. Which is exactly what Dakota Access and Army Corps did. After making that demand the tribe failed and/or refused to participate. THAT is the truth here.
Read the Judge's Memorandum and ruling that the US Army Corp of Engineers did comply with the law, that the tribe failed/refused to meaningfully engage and participate ... for yourself. You'll see an extensive, documented timeline of the tribes interaction, and lack thereof, during the permit process.Next let's review the Treaty Lands claims made ... in the same 2014 meeting Standing Rock tribal Chairman Archambault made the claim the pipeline crossed the 1851/1868 treaty lands:
"... told the the pipeline was going to be routed 1,500 feet north of the Standing Rock Reservation boundary ... Standing Rock Tribal chairman Chairman Dave Archambault II replied ''We recognize our treaty boundaries from 1851 and 1868, and because of that we oppose the pipeline."
Archambault and supporters can SAY the pipeline is on treaty lands, but that will not make his claim true.
Let's look at the facts ...
1851 Treaty lands (gold), 1868 Treaty lands (gray), and the 1877 Act northward expansion to the Cannonball river (red line) (click to enlarge)
The Laramie Treaty of 1868 established the tribal lands boundaries as shown in GRAY on the map attached. The Congressional Act of 1877 extinguished all tribal ownership and rights to the 1851 treaty lands (shown in GOLD in the map below), and extended the 1868 treaty lands (gray) north to the Cannonball River (red line).
In the 1877 Act by Congress, all the tribal rights to all lands except the 1868 Treaty lands shown in gray (including the 1851 section northward to the red line) were ended. The tribes had no further rights to the 1851 Treaty lands upon enactment of the 1877 Act. The accuracy and truth of this claim are supported by law.
After decades of litigation the US Supreme Court ruled, in UNITED STATES v. SIOUX NATION OF INDIANS, (1980), that Congress had full legal authority for the 1877 Act and that the tribes rights to the 1851 lands were legally ended. The Court ruled the tribe must be paid just compensation for the land, awarding the tribes $17.5 million plus interest at 5% annually from 1877. That full award was paid by the government and is being held in trust for the tribes. The balance is now more than $1.2 billion.
The Supreme Court ruled the tribes have no rights to any lands the DAPL crosses.
The tribes and their supporters say the tribes never agree to the taking of their lands, and note they have refused the money paid to them. But that is not the law ... the Court makes the final decision, and they have ruled. The tribe does not have to accept the money, but that will not change the ruling.
This Sept 2014 meeting, which so many want to claim has ANY relevance, actually only goes to show the duplicity and untruthfulness of the tribes claims. It shows the tribe demanded a full Section 106 NHPA review in the Sept. 2014 meeting. The Army Corp did exactly what the tribe demanded ... and the tribe failed and refused to participate, engage and respond.
This recording clearly confirms the bad faith and falsehoods on the part of the tribe in; (a.) demanding a Section 106 NHPA review, then (b.) failing/refusing to participate in it ... and then (c.) making the untruthful claim to the Court they had not been properly consulted.
The Court ruled on the record and evidence before it, which clearly showed the Army Corp. had properly completed the Section 106 NHPA review the Standing Rock tribe demanded, and had fully complied with the Section 106 NHPA requirements, and properly ruled the tribe's claims were unfounded.
Judge Boasberg ruled the tribes claims were not supported by the record. The Supreme Court ruled the tribes rights to 1851 Treaty lands were ended in 1877, and that ruling is final. The tribes have no legal right to the unceded lands.TIME FOR AN UPDATE ....HOW SAFE IS IT ANYWAY?
The Trans-Alaska pipeline runs thru. and operates within, one of the harshest, most severe environments in the world ... how safe is it?
With Trump making clear the Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed in an expedited fashion, and authorizing Keystone XL ... the abject displays of ignorance about pipeline safety are resurging.
So rather than industry-wide statistics on overall pipeline safety, let's focus on a look at a REAL WORLD example ... a major pipeline and route located in one of the harshest, most severe - and most ecologically important environments in the world ... the Trans-Alaska pipeline.
Certainly there are few, if any, other pipelines located in more difficult, unforgiving and challenging places anywhere.
So JUST HOW HARSH is the Trans-Alaska's route and environment? Lets take a look:
Air Temperature Range Along Route: MINUS -80°F to +95°F.
Diameter of Pipe: 48 inches.
Elevations, Highest: ' Atigun Pass: 4,739 ft. ' Isabel Pass: 3,420 ft. ' Thompson Pass: 2,812 ft.
Grade, Maximum: 145% (55°) at Thompson Pass.
Length of Line: 800 miles (1,288 kilometers)
Mountain Ranges Crossed, North to South (three): ' Brooks Range, ' Alaska Range, ' Ahugach Range.
Right-of-Way Widths: ' Federal land: 54 ft. (buried pipe); 64 ft. (elevated pipe). ' State land: 100 ft. ' Private land: 54 ft. to 300 ft.
River and Stream Crossings: ' 34 major, ' nearly 500 others.
EARTHQUAKE, In Nov 2002 the pipeline withstood a magnitude 7.9 Richter Scale earthquake that was centered along the Denali Fault in Interior Alaska, approximately 50 miles west of the pipeline. The quake was among the strongest earthquakes recorded in North America in the last 100 years.
So the next question is ... JUST HOW SAFE is the TRANS-ALASKA pipeline?
Since it began operation in 1977 - now 39 years - the Trans-Alaska - now Aleyska - pipeline:
' Has transported 17,455,737,760 barrels of crude oil. ' Has averaged 11.5 spills per year ' Has averaged 92.3 barrels per spill
Out of 17.46 Billion barrels of crude oil delivered in its 39 years - an average of just 1,064 barrels have spilled annually from the Trans-Alaska pipeline ... a safely delivered rate of 99.9999939%
This is for a 42" crude oil pipeline built and operating in one of the most severe (and most ecologically sensitive) environments in the world ...
And those numbers are skewed by a couple high profile incidents of intentionally inflicted damage ....
' The single largest spill was the result of sabotage - an explosive charge set at Steele Creek that released 16,000 bbl ...
' And the 2nd largest was also sabotage ... when a drunk used repeated shots from a high powered rifle to breach a weld (more than 50 other gunshots to the pipeline failed to cause a leak) causing a spill of appx 6,142 barrels ... 4,238 barrels were directly recovered ... w/less than 2 acres impacted - which were fully cleaned up.
Take away JUST these TWO acts of intentionally damage, and over its 39 years ... over the 17.46 billion barrels delivered by the Trans-Alaska pipeline ... there averaged just 11.47 spills per year with an avg spill of 43.3 barrels and a total average annual amount spilled of just 496 barrels ... an average 99.9999972% safety rating.
NO ONE can argue that the Trans-Alaska pipeline is in a far more severe environment than the Dakota Access Pipeline ... The Trans-Alaska Pipeline:
' Is almost entirely built above ground and exposed to the elements ' Crosses three mountain ranges, including the nearly mile high Atigun Pass ' Air Temperature Range Along Route: MINUS -80°F to +95°F. ' 34 major, and nearly 500 others river and stream crossings: ' Travels directly thru an earthquake fault zone ... safely withstanding a 7.9 quake along its route in 2002 - one of the strongest earthquakes measured in the United States.
But we are supposed to believe the Dakota Access pipeline - with nearly 40 year newer technology, fully buried and protected from the elements and sabotage along essentially its entire route, and in an area with basically no earthquake threat ... is somehow going to experience a massive risk of leaks ...
Neither sabotage or cold, nor mountains and earthquakes ... or even 'snowflakes' ;-) ... can change the facts ... that the Trans Alaska pipeline has an exemplary safety record .... despite its extreme harsh and unforgiving environment.