Dakota Access’ Only Similarity To Keystone: It is a Pipeline

In a recent publication by E + E News, Chairman of the MAIN Coalition Ed Wiederstein was quoted stating the Dakota Access Pipeline, “is not like Keystone, other than it’s a pipeline, that’s the only comparison you can make.”

He’s correct.

Unlike Keystone XL, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be constructed entirely within the United States for the purpose of transporting American produced oil from the Bakken and Three Forks Shale Region of North Dakota, not the Tar Sands of Alberta, Canada. Because the pipeline does not cross an international border, it is legally not subject to the same review process as a pipeline like Keystone XL. Instead, the Dakota Access Pipeline underwent thorough reviews by each individual state utility regulator, the North Dakota Public Services Commission, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, Iowa Utilities Board, and Illinois Commerce Commission, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Nationwide 12 permit application. The construction of these types of pipelines takes place frequently, and throughout the United States, hundreds operate safely beneath our land and waterways every day.

Throughout the review process for Dakota Access, states and the federal government consulted with experts in fields of agriculture, archaeology, geology, and historic preservation. The public including stakeholder groups, landowners, and Native American tribes were invited to comment, consult, correspond, and intervene throughout the process as part of the evidence used to make each individual permitting decision, and many did weigh in.

Additional review on the part of the federal government would be an unnecessary overreach into the purview of state regulators, and should have no impact on the final decision already made to construct this project by four states and the Corps of Engineers. With project construction already well under way, any commentary or suggested input on the Dakota Access Pipeline by the White House or the presidential campaigns can only be viewed as politically motivated.