President Donald Trump is making way for an environmental disaster.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration fast tracked approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline near a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The construction isn’t even complete, but the project has already experienced an oil spill!
We learned this week that the pipeline spilled dozens of gallons of crude oil last month in Spink County, South Dakota at a pump station.
“The fact that you had oil leaving the tank says there’s something not right with their procedures. They might have been trying to hurry,” one pipeline expert familiar with the situation reportedly told the media this week.
A leaky surge pump along the Dakota Access oil pipeline spilled 84 gallons of crude oil in April at the pump station just north of Crandon in Spink County.
That’s according to Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ground Water Quality Program.
The pipeline, which will move oil from shale formations in western North Dakota roughly 1,170 miles to Patoka, Ill., is not yet operational. In north-central South Dakota, it cuts through Campbell, McPherson, Edmunds, Faulk and Spink counties.
According to Dakota Media Group archives, the pump station is on 10.59 acres of land in rural Spink County that Dakota Access purchased Feb. 3, 2016, from Donald Gene and Rita Mary Masat. Crandon is southeast of Redfield and east of Tulare.
“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,” Walsh said in a phone interview with 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.”
The latest incident will no doubt raise a new round of questions around the Trump administration’s environmental policies and the decision to allow more pipeline construction in the United States.
The spill … comes at a time when the Dakota Access pipeline is under intense scrutiny from tribes and environmentalists, who have fought to prevent it from entering service.
The 1,170-mile pipeline is designed to deliver up to 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day between North Dakota and oil facilities in Illinois. Tribes near the pipeline route have said a spill puts drinking water supplies at risk.
Environmentalists took up the cause last year and launched nationwide protests against the pipeline. The Obama administration moved to effectively pause the construction process for a critical stretch of the pipeline, but President Trump reversed that decision and allowed the project to move forward.
Trump has been proven wrong and we need to turn back before it’s too late.