A new year and five oil-spills later, the flowing of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) underneath the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply continues to be a threat to tribal survival. As the Tribe battles to shut down the oil flow through the courts, new information detailing how the pipeline was wrongly placed through Lake Oahe — the Tribe’s main source of drinking water — is emerging.
The decision to move the DAPL from a route north of the 90 percent white population of Bismarck down onto the traditional lands of the Sioux and under Lake Oahe, impacting the 84 percent Native population, required a legally adequate environmental justice analysis that Dakota Access, LLC failed to prepare.
Records obtained through a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that the United States Army Corps of Engineers inappropriately attempted to guide the companies funding DAPL toward providing an environmental justice analysis of the pipeline that would conclude that there was no disproportionate impact on a racial minority.
Taking their cue from the Army Corps, the pipeline companies Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Dakota Access, LLC manipulated their environmental justice assessment to reach that predetermined conclusion.
Touted as “one of the safest, most technologically advanced pipelines in the world” by Dakota Access, LLC, the pipeline has already leaked five times in 2017, with more than 100 gallons of oil in two separate incidents in North Dakota last March, 84 gallons in South Dakota, 168 gallons in Illinois in April, and 21 gallons in Iowa in November. This shouldn’t come as a shock, as another company operating the pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has spilled more crude oil than any of its competitors, with more than 200 leaks since 2010.
Last June, DAPL began flowing…