The Governor’s Office and other North Dakota state officials today urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to maintain its current route and continue to safely transport North Dakota crude oil as it’s been doing for more than six years.
The Corps is holding public meetings today and Thursday in Bismarck to collect comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the easement for the existing DAPL crossing at Lake Oahe. In addition to the Governor’s Office, comments are being submitted by representatives from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, Department of Agriculture, Public Service Commission and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Under the Draft EIS, three of the five alternatives would effectively force DAPL to shut down. Gov. Doug Burgum has called those alternatives “unacceptable” and urged the Corps to reaffirm the existing easement under Alternative 3, while also criticizing the court-ordered DEIS process for the existing pipeline as costly and unnecessary.
Comments submitted by the Governor’s Office today noted that with high inflation and gas prices creating hardship for individuals and families, the nation should be doing everything possible to ensure the safe and efficient production and transportation of affordable, reliable energy for citizens.
“The safest, most efficient and most cost-effective means of transporting crude oil is through pipeline infrastructure. The Dakota Access Pipeline has been in operation since June 2017 without incident. Currently, the pipeline safely transports approximately 600,000 barrels of oil per day, or more than 50% of the crude oil produced in North Dakota. Its current path – including the crossing at Lake Oahe in an existing utility corridor – was carefully vetted during a thorough public permitting process that lasted 18 months,” governor’s Chief of Staff Jace Beehler said in comments read into the official record on Burgum’s behalf. “Any reduction in available pipeline capacity will increase the risks and cost of transporting North Dakota oil to refining facilities by forcing oil onto less efficient trains and trucks. This also will increase congestion on our highways and railroads, negatively impacting the safety of motorists and the ability of farmers and ranchers to move their commodities and livestock to market, thus harming our state’s two largest industries.”
“Cutting off the flow of oil through DAPL also would drastically reduce the flow of oil tax revenue in our state. Oil tax collections account for roughly half of state tax revenues in North Dakota, supporting everything from schools, hospitals and airports to road construction, water projects and other critical infrastructure.”
Shutting down DAPL would reduce state revenues by approximately $1.2 billion in the first year and $105 million per year after that until DAPL is up and running again, OMB estimates.
The DEIS is the second step in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review process and will be followed by a Final Environmental Impact Statement that will include the public comments received during the current comment period, which the Corps has extended through Dec. 13. A second public meeting to accept comment will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Radisson Hotel, 605 E. Broadway Ave., Bismarck.
“We appreciate the Corps accepting public comment regarding the Draft EIS for the Lake Oahe crossing, and we encourage citizens to use this opportunity to provide their input in person or submit written comment by Dec. 13,” Burgum said.