Dakota Access Pipeline vandalized before it comes online

Posted at 11:05 PM, Mar 21, 2017

With the Dakota Access Pipeline nearly ready to start operation, the company that runs it says the 1,172-mile long oil pipe has been vandalized in several places.

In a court-ordered status report filed Monday, attorneys for Dakota Access write there have been “recent coordinated physical attacks … that pose threats to life, physical safety, and the environment.”

Much of the report is filed under seal and documents released to CNN were heavily redacted.

The company does note that oil flow might begin this week. Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, which owns Dakota Access, said the company won’t say when the flow of oil will begin.

“That is not something we plan to provide,” Granado said.

The $3.7 billion pipeline stretches through four states, from North Dakota into South Dakota, winding through Iowa and ending in southern Illinois. It is expected to move 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day across the Midwest.

Vandalism in two states

A sheriff in Iowa said there was an incident of vandalism earlier this month on the pipe at an above-ground safety valve.

Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem said someone used a blowtorch to cut a hole through the 5/8-inch thick pipe.

His department is running extra patrols near the site and six others, which are fenced in.

The company believes the vandalism occurred between March 3 and 13, the sheriff said.

There was a similar incident in South Dakota.

Chief Deputy Chad Brown of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office told an energy reporter for the Duluth (North Dakota) News Tribune that someone apparently used a torch on a pipe at a valve site near Sioux Falls.

The incident happened between March 15 and 17, Brown told the newspaper.

Dakota Access says in its court filing that the attacks will not stop the filling of the pipeline with oil.