Respected fact checking website, Snopes.com responded on Wednesday to misguided rumors that the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted around Bismarck as a result of local opposition.
CLAIM: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was re-routed through the Standing Rock Reservation after Bismarck’s mostly-white residents refused to allow it near their water supply.
WHATS TRUE: The U.S Army Corps of Engineers originally considered a Dakota Access Pipeline route north of Bismarck but abandoned the idea, citing eleven miles of additional pipeline length and dozens more crossings.
WHATS FALSE: “Mostly white” residents of Bismarck did not refuse to accept the threat to their water supply, and the project was not subsequently forced upon tribes at Standing Rock because white people rejected the risk.
The post goes on to cite an article in the Bismarck Tribune that explains why the current route was always the preferred route:
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.
Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary recently echoed these findings, saying that at no point did local officials discuss the alternate route north of the city.
“Bismarck has never been involved in that discussion. Not one policy maker, not one department head, not one city employee has ever been involved in a discussion with regards to a route north of Bismarck …. So move on from that subject. You are wrong and you are creating issues,” Seminary said during a November press conference.