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Firms hope to press on with DAPL construction

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World Pipelines,

The two firms that are leading the construction of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) plan to press on with construction along its planned route, despite the recent decision made by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ to deny a crucial permit. The Corps believes that more time is required to complete further studies and to consider alternative routes. Therefore, it would not authorise construction of the final section of the DAPL.

The news was celebrated by the thousands of protesters gathered at the site. However, according to BBC News, the firms accused the US government of political interference since it failed to approve the completion of the final section of the crude oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics have attacked the move made by the Army Corps as a "purely political action" on the part of the Obama administration. They also highlighted that the project has already received court approval. Thus, they accused the White House of abandoning the rule of law "in favour of currying favour with a narrow and extreme political constituency".

The companies noted that they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting.”

According to the Financial Times, Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics have stated that the US Army Corps had confirmed that they had complied with all the legal requirements for construction, and its recent statement is consistent with the way that the administration had “demonstrated by its action and inaction that it intended to delay a decision in this matter until President Obama is out of office”.

It must be highlighted that the next US President, Donald Trump supports the DAPL project. His administration is expected to grant the approvals that have so far been denied. Therefore, it is highly likely that the controversy, disagreement and protests will continue.

Another reason why the companies fronting DAPL are keen to continue work is because they signed supply contracts while oil prices were higher. They could lose substantial sums if delays mean that the contracts need to be re-negotiated, highlighted the New Scientist.

The US$3.8 billion 1200 mile (1900 km) pipeline is complete, except for a final section that is planned to run under Lake Oahe and is proving to be extremely controversial. Extensive protests have taken place for months. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their far-reaching supporters fear that the DAPL will contaminate local drinking water and destroy sacred burial sites.

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