The Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile oil pipeline that will safely transport crude from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Illinois for domestic U.S. consumption, was for years a project no one could fairly call “controversial.” It proceeded through the regulatory process without incident. The company building it worked with landowners and local officials to address any concerns before construction began. The project was halfway finished when, suddenly this summer, a small group emerged to protest the entire pipeline.
A team of archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota has found no evidence to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s claim that sites of cultural significance were destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction activities. A new survey at a work area west of Highway 1806 revealed no human burials or cultural materials, wrote chief archeologist Paul Picha in a September 22 memo obtained by the Say Anything Blog.
These findings further validate the Historical Society’s original conclusion that no sites of historical or cultural significance will be adversely affected by the pipeline’s carefully determined route. “The State Historic Preservation Office had previously concurred with a cultural resource survey of the pipeline route that found that no significant sites would be affected. As noted by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in a recent ruling, DAPL undertook extensive efforts to avoid sensitive areas, including rerouting the pipeline 140 times in North Dakota alone.
Prior to the survey, skeptics had noted that this particular area along the route had previously been dug up for an existing natural gas line, making the discovery of anything significant highly remote.