Oil spills into Ash Coulee Creek
LAUREN DONOVAN Bismarck Tribune 19 hrs ago
The State Health Department’s spill investigation team was out in blustery conditions Monday and Tuesday, working to contain an oil pipeline spill that has impacted about 2.5 miles of the Ash Coulee Creek and a tributary creek in the badlands.
The spill, of so-far unknown volume, was detected Monday morning by a nearby landowner. Spill investigation program manager Bill Suess said containment booms at five locations were set up at the creek and a skimmer dam that catches oil on the water’s surface was established Tuesday. The spill location is about 16 miles northwest of Belfield.
The pipeline operator is Belle Fourche Pipeline Co., which has a record of 15 spills dating back to 2000, ranging from two barrels to 300 barrels in several oil patch counties, according to department records.
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The Navajo Nation has filed a $160 million lawsuit against the US government for damages and ongoing injuries caused by an August 2015 mine spill which released millions of gallons of toxic waste near the tribe’s territory.
The filing, announced in a Monday press release, claims that the Gold King Mine spill negatively impacted communities along the San Juan River on Navajo Nation territory when it released millions of gallons of toxic waste – including lead, arsenic, and mercury – into the nearby Animas River, ultimately transforming the connecting San Juan River from a “life-giver and protector” to a “threat” to the Navajo people, crops, and animals.
We're pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it's gone, the real crisis begins.
A day after the Obama administration put the brakes on the nearly 1,200 mile oil pipeline by denying a permit needed to finish the route, a spokesman for Mr. Trump said Monday that the incoming administration supports completing it.
But instead of waiting until the president-elect takes office next month, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is pressing ahead with a request to a federal judge to allow the company to immediately cross beneath a Missouri River reservoir, the final 1,100-foot link to be built in the pipeline.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wants its lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put on hold, following the corps’ announcement Sunday that it will not grant an easement for Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under the Missouri River/Lake Oahe while it examines alternate routes through the environmental impact statement process.
The motion to stay the suit was filed for Friday’s status hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington with Judge James E. Boasberg.
“We’re asking to put the case aside, because, depending on the outcome of an EIS, it resolves most of the tribes’ concerns,” said tribe attorney Jan Hasselman, of Earthjustice.
The lawsuit filed in July by Standing Rock and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe claims the corps failed to follow federal law or properly consult tribes when it issued a permit for the 570,000-barrel pipeline project. The suit calls for a rigorous EIS rather than the environmental assessment used by the corps to justify the permit.
The permit did not include a written easement to use corps’ property to directionally drill the oil pipeline under the Missouri River/Lake Oahe. The announcement ended months of uncertainty over the easement, the lack of which has stopped the pipeline in its tracks, with no way to link pipe installed on both sides of the river.
Dakota Access is also in court following the corps’ announcement. It filed a motion asking Boasberg to find that the corps did in fact issue an easement in a consent document as well as under Section 408 permissions.
The tribes’ motion reserves the right to resume the suit if Boasberg agrees with Dakota Access and the company starts the drilling project. The tribes objected to a suggestion by Dakota Access that oral arguments on its motion to dismiss could also be heard at Friday's status hearing. Hasselman said he believes the pipeline’s motion won’t be heard before February.
By way of explaining its announcement, the corps said that, for reasons of security and sensitivity, information in the environmental assessment was withheld from the public and Standing Rock. The information included a model analysis of an oil spill in Lake Oahe, a risk analysis of the horizontally directionally drilled pipeline under Lake Oahe and a comparison to the north-Bismarck pipeline route that was jettisoned by the company before any public input.
Hasselman said all three of those confidential documents were withheld from the tribes even after it brought its lawsuit.
“They were kept totally confidential, and there’s no reason for it,” said Hasselman, adding the lack of information meant there was no way for the tribes to evaluate a potential spill or the risk of a blowout during the hydraulic drilling operation. “The environmental assessment was all written by Dakota Access; the corps was at arm's length."
The lack of an alternative route in any assessment, including the north Bismarck one, is at the heart of the matter, according to Hasselman.
“It was moved away from Bismarck because of drinking water concerns and set on the tribes’ doorstep, and that’s a critical reason for how the story has unfolded,” he said.
Dear Morton County Commissioners and Sheriff Kirchmeier:
Published on Dec 14, 2016
We write to give you notice of the illegality of your closure of Highway 1806 at the Backwater Bridge and to request that you remove the barricade at the bridge and re-open Highway 1806 to traffic immediately.
I really thought they would eventually let the protesters off without prosecuting them.
Lawyers for Standing Rock protesters are pleading for more help
Hundreds of DAPL protesters have no lawyer at all.