The Biden administration took a pass on a status update for the Dakota Access Pipeline after a draft environmental review was issued Friday.
The administration did not indicate whether it would revoke an existing permit allowing the DAPL, which transports crude oil
from North Dakota to Illinois for processing, to cross through federal waters.
The Army Corps of Engineers on Friday released a draft impact statement looking at the pipeline’s environmental consequences. It says the agency did not select a “preferred” alternative — whether it would revoke the permit, keep it as-is or modify it. Instead, the administration will consider public comments before issuing a final decision.
The report said that if the pipeline has an oil spill, it could have long-term, major impacts on groundwater and wildlife, as well as community health. However, the Corps also calls the possibility of such a spill “remote to very unlikely.”
The DAPL was built by Energy Transfer Partners
to pipe crude oil from the Bakken field in North Dakota to Illinois refineries. The pipeline crosses under the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and Lake Oahe, and runs within a half-mile of the current boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, through land taken from the Tribe by Congress in 1958, according to a Harvard Law briefing. The DAPL also runs through important cultural and burial sites for Standing Rock and other tribal nations.
Most of the DAPL was permitted and built under state law. However, the federal government has authority over 37 miles of the 1100-mile pipeline, where the pipeline passes over or under streams, rivers and federal dams.
The Standing Rock Sioux, other tribes, and environmental-policy groups oppose the pipeline because of the greenhouse gas emissions from oil that it carries, and concerns that a spill would contaminate state and tribal drinking water.
The Biden administration earlier this week announced the cancellation of controversial oil and natural-gas leases in an Alaska federal wildlife refuge that were bought by a state development agency in 2021.
“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement authorizing the cancellation of the seven remaining leases.