The federal pipeline regulator recently put the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Energy Transfer LP, on notice for probable violations of safety regulations and proposed a civil penalty against it.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) July 22, 2021, notice listed probable violations ranging from the location of storm water drainage at six pipeline facilities and failure to follow assessment guidelines relating to possible incidents in sensitive areas where the pipeline operates.
Inspections conducted from April 29, 2019 through August 30, 2019, found at least seven violations of the Pipeline Safety Regulations, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
The PHMSA recommended a civil penalty of $93,200 against the company for the violations and said failure to correct the issues may result in further enforcement action. which reported second-quarter net income of $626 million.
“Police used heavy-handed tactics against protesters who sought to stop the dangerous DAPL project, but government agencies mail notices of meager fines that have almost no impact on the company’s destructive operating practices,” said New Jersey environmental activist Lisa McCormick. “It is time to recognize that environmental crimes are more serious than loitering, littering and petty larceny.”
In June, a U.S. district court closed a long-running case against the DAPL, a 570,000-barrel-per-day pipeline out of North Dakota that travels under a Missouri River reservoir, but allowed for Native American tribes and other opponents of the line to file additional actions against it.
“An oil spill from this pipeline would be devastating to our drinking water supply and that of millions of people downstream, placing us all in harm’s way. That’s why we have opposed DAPL from the very beginning and fought its continued operation at every turn,” said Ira Taken Alive, vice chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has fled a number of lawsuits seeking to stop the pipeline.