Dakota Access Pipeline Has Its First Spill

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For nearly ten months, the Water Protectors stood their ground at the popup protest site, where indigenous communities and environmental activists gathered to fight back against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has been protesting the pipeline since April 2016, has repeatedly warned that a big leak would be catastrophic for the water supply of millions of people. Still, he said, even if oil begins flowing through the pipeline, that doesn't signal an end to the legal fight against the project. Archambault II has been one of the point-men behind opposition to the project.

The leak was small, but the pipeline is not yet in full operation. Naturally, the incident sparked fury from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as well as other activists who protested its development.

The April 4 leak was cleaned up but not widely publicized at the time. The spill could have been prevented if state officials had simply listened to the tribe's concerns.

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The pipeline operated by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is expected to be in service by June 1. It's always been false. "It doesn't give us any pleasure to say, 'I told you so.' But we have said from the beginning that it's not a matter of if, but when. It's just what happens". The controversial project, headed by Energy Transfer Partners, would stretch from North Dakota to IL and had been heavily protested by environmental activists and Native American tribes. Tribal leaders and environmental protesters have long argued that a spill under the Missouri River could contaminate the tribe's only source of drinking water; despite those concerns, Energy Transfer Partners is under no deadline to come up with an emergency response plan for a potential spill into the Missouri River, nor are they required to store emergency spill equipment near the site for another year.

Even more alarming is why this leak is only just reaching our eyes and ears now. "And if the Dakota Access Pipeline doesn't have a permit, they have to turn the pipeline off".

Neither the company nor the state have yet to make a public announcement about the spill.

"They have the main line and the main pump, but they also have a surge tank, which they have pump a little off the main line into", said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the Ground Water Quality Program of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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