Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oil has begun flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline — here's what that means for the key players

Oil has begun flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline after months of delays caused by protests and Native American tribes' efforts to stop the project. The 1,200-mile pipeline is capable of moving half of the oil produced in North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois. It will be fully operational in about three weeks. Here's a look at how the saga has affected the major players: For Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners, the start of operations means money. The company had hoped the pipeline would be operational late last year, but resistance from Sioux tribes and a favorable order under the Obama administration blocked final construction until President Donald Trump took office in January and pushed federal officials to approve the final stage of construction. The company says in court documents that it has long-term transportation contracts with nine companies to ship oil through the pipeline. Based on information supplied by ETP in court documents, delays have cost it more than half-a-billion dollars. The fight over the pipeline drew widespread attention and at one point attracted thousands of protesters to an encampment near the small town of Cannon Ball. For opponents, the flow of oil is a setback but not necessarily a defeat. Four Sioux tribes — the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Yankton and Oglala — have a lawsuit pending in federal court and hope to persuade a judge to shut down the pipeline to protect Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir and their water source. Opponents say they also have succeeded on a larger scale by raising awareness about clean water issues and sparking protests at other pipeline projects across the nation, as well as at banks that have supported Dakota Access. "The resistance is growing," protest leader Joye Braun said. "Water protectors have spread out around the country."...more

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