Throughout the past year, water protectors from Native American tribes in South Dakota warned the Dakota Access Pipeline poses a grave threat to the environment.
A recent — and grossly underreported — report of an oil leak just proved them right.
The $3.8 billion dollar project reportedly spilled 84 gallons of oil sometime in April, before even being operational.
“At the pipeline’s pump station there’s what’s called a surge tank, which is used to store crude oil occasionally during the regular operation of the pipeline,” Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ground Water Quality Program, told the Dakota Media Group Tuesday. “And connected to that tank is a pump, which pumps oil back into the pipeline system, and the leak occurred at that surge pump.”
While the leak is a small amount of oil compared to other spills, the fact that it happened at all is exactly why the local Native American tribes have protested against the project for more than a year now.
The $3.7 billion huge oil pipeline will run 1,168 miles, across four states in the western United States, including Iowa, Illinois and North and South Dakota.
A part of the pipeline, which will carry around 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day, will run under the Missouri River. This has prompted legitimate concerns regarding the possible pollution of the river, which is considered sacred by the residents of local Native American tribal areas, including the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
Although the construction of the DAPL halted following historic protests, it was resumed after Donald Trump, who reportedly has personal business stakes in the project, signed a damning executive order.
The pipeline is scheduled to begin operations on June 1.