Analysis: Company Behind Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline Has Record of Spills, Property Damage

For Immediate Release

Analysis: Company Behind Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline Has Record of Spills, Property Damage

WASHINGTON - Energy Transfer Partners, the conglomerate behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, is responsible for 29 pipeline safety incidents since 2006, in which 9,555 barrels of hazardous liquids were leaked, according to a new analysis of federal data by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Those spills resulted in $9.5 million in property damage, according to information from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. 

Energy Transfer Partners is attempting to build a 1,172-mile pipeline to ship Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. 

“With the effects of climate change already being felt, we can’t afford to lock in more oil infrastructure in North Dakota, or anywhere else, that will prolong our dependence on dirty fuels,” said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center. “Like Keystone XL before it, this pipeline should not be allowed to go forward.”  

More than 100 tribes, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, are fighting the Dakota Access pipeline, which would desecrate sacred lands essential to the Sioux Nation's history, culture and identity, and threaten the water supply of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Obama administration recently halted construction pending reevaluation of the Army Corps of Engineers permit.  

A 2013 study reveals a deeply troubling history of pipeline accidents in the United States. This independent analysis of federal records found that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other safety incidents have resulted in nearly $7 billion in damages, more than 2,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths. 

A time-lapse video documents every “significant pipeline” incident in the continental United States — along with their human and financial costs — from 1986 through May 2013 On average one significant pipeline incident occurred in the country every 30 hours, according to the data. 

“Pipelines have a long history of spills, damage and injuries,” Spivak said. “Not only does the oil in these pipelines pose a very real threat to our climate, but spills are a fact of life when pipelines fail — and that puts water, wildlife and people directly in harm’s way. The way to protect our climate, water, wildlife and indigenous lands is to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” 

The Center and other environmental organizations have pledged their support for the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight to stop the pipeline, which cuts across more than 200 federal water crossings owned by all Americans.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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