After international protesters had joined indigenous groups in voicing their fears that the Dakota Access Pipeline would be a threat to the environment, it has now, already, formed a leak. The 3.8 billion dollar pipeline is not even fully operational and has already sprung the leak responsible for the spilling of 84 gallons of oil at a pump station in South Dakota.
State officials have reported that the leak, which occurred on April 6th, was quickly contained and cleaned up. However, regardless of the speed of cleanup, the fact remains that the concerns that the line would be hazardous to the environment have been confirmed.
The lawyer representing the Sioux tribe, Jan Hasselman, was quick to point out that despite assurances that the pipeline is leak resistant due to the use of state of the art technology, the pipeline is leaking before it has even been made operational.
The pipeline was designed to transport oil from its source in North Dakota to Illinois. 2016 was rife with demonstrations against this implementation, leading up to President Obama denying the permits necessary for completing the project. However, President Donald Trump was quick to grant the permits, reviving construction of the controversial pipeline.
The Standing Rock tribe is arguing that before the pipeline is implemented, a full environmental study should be performed for a better understanding of how the pipeline will potentially influence the environment surrounding it. President Trump, however, has allowed the construction to continue and projects near the tribe have now been completed and are loading oil.
The April 6th spill was the first of the kind, but demonstrates the need for a better understanding through environmental assessments, and gives credence to the tribe’s calls for better study. Hasselman went on in the statement to point out while “I told you so” does not bring them pleasure to say, it is apparent that leaks are not “ifs” but rather “whens,” and the tribe, among many others, would simply like to know what that means for them.
Environmental scientist Brian Walsh, who works with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources stated that the April 6th spill was minor, and caused by mechanical failure. Walsh stated that spills like this are not uncommon, and because the spill was contained to a “secondary containment area” the s[ill resulted in no environmental impacts.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has expressed concerns that the spill was never disclosed by the company at the time of the spill. Walsh countered that concern with explaining that unless there are threats to the public health or waterways as a result of a spill, the department does not make statements. He added that this spill was the state’s first.
While the pipeline company has fought for the right to keep their project status confidential in court, others argue that any spill should be immediately reported, pointing out that the ability to hide such instances removes the ability of others to hold these companies responsible for how they impact the environment.
There is no justification for this, it is leaking before it’s even fully operational, just imagine it the disaster that will happen when it is fully operation and transferring thousands of gallons per week. Say goodbye to your water.