Officials with the US Army Corps of Engineers are considering permits to construct and operate the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. The crude oil pipeline will connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to existing infrastructure in Illinois, traveling through part of South Dakota. Most of the more than eleven hundred mile pipeline crosses private lands. The US Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction on about 37 miles, or about three percent of the project…the sections that cross water or federal land. Eileen Williamson is a spokesperson for the Corps. She says they’re evaluating the environmental impacts that take place during construction.
“For example, if threatened and endangered species is a concern. Let’s say that a proposed crossing and construction schedule could impact nesting of a protected bird,” Williamson says. “Then a recommendation would be to ensure that the construction schedule is outside of that nesting period, and that the construction does not affect the habitat that that bird would use for nesting.”
Williamson says officials must work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the state Historic Preservation Officer, and Tribal governments. She says they’re also reviewing public comments. Williamson says there’s no timeline for reaching a decision. Some Native Americans and landowners oppose the project.