Company Behind Dakota Access In Spotlight for Numerous Pipeline Incidents

By Yessenia Funes May 25, 2017

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is the company behind five pipelines around the country: Dakota Access, Rover, Trans-Pecos, Comanche and Bayou Bridge. And it appears that at least one of the developer’s pipeline incidents may be worse than originally thought, according to The Guardian.

In a story published today (May 25), The Guardian reports on the Texas-based energy company’s natural gas Rover pipeline in Ohio. ETP spilled a reported two million gallons of non-toxic mud-like drilling fluids, which is used to lubricate and cool equipment, during the construction process of the 710-mile long natural gas pipeline. However, public records The Guardian obtained show that the spill might have been more around five million gallons, according to emails between ETP and Ohio regulators. The pipeline has already been cited for 18 incidents across 11 counties.

Though the spill didn’t spew toxic chemicals into the environment, advocates worry about what the size of the spill could do to the wetlands and the wildlife that calls it home, reported The Washington Post.

This new information places the company into the spotlight—again. ETP was first in the headlines last year after its 1,172-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline received worldwide attention from indigenous groups in opposition of it. The pipeline is now complete, and it’s become increasingly clear that its opponents were right to warn about leakage.

The pipeline has already seen three spills. One, in South Dakota, was reported in April; the other two were reported later but occurred a month earlier in North Dakota. Though the spills have been relatively small (ranging from 20 to 100 gallons of oil), they have caused further concern within the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which led resistance efforts against the $3.78 billion project in North Dakota.

The first reported spill of 84 gallons led to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II to issue a statement May 10 saying:

“The Dakota Access pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline. This is what we have said all along: oil pipelines leak and spill. Our lawsuit challenging this dangerous project is ongoing and it’s more important than ever for the court to step in and halt additional accidents before they happen–not just for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and our resources but for the 17 million people whose drinking water is at risk.”

No Dakota Access oil has gotten into waterways, according to state environmental officials, but ETP opponents remain weary of what may come next for the company. Activists filed a lawsuit yesterday related to the Rover incidents with hopes to block the natural gas pipeline, per The Guardian.