Energy Transfer, the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), told investors on a call this week that DAPL is now equipped to transport 750,000 barrels of oil per day (bbl/day). This marks a significant expansion from the 570,000 bbl/day it sought approval to transport when applying for a federal permit in 2016. Its existing federal permit, which allowed DAPL to cross beneath Lake Oahe on a dammed portion of the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, was invalidated last year with a federal court decision in litigation brought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
If the company is currently transporting an increased volume of oil through the pipeline, there is no indication that it sought a new permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do so. This news comes just weeks after a federal enforcement action targeting Energy Transfer for violating safety regulations.
“This pipeline operator lost its permit because Standing Rock’s concerns were ignored, and federal environmental laws flouted, when the pipeline was first installed. Now with increased capacity, the threat to our health and drinking water supply has only grown. We look to the Biden administration to take action,” said Ira Taken Alive, Vice-Chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
“Energy Transfer is running an illegal pipeline with no permit and that is subject to federal enforcement action for violating safety laws,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who is representing the Tribe in court. “Expanding operations is a slap in the face to the community. How long before the Biden administration steps in to put an end to this?”