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Tribe: Expert's report highlights flaws in assessment of Dakota Access

BISMARCK - Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II on Friday, Nov. 4, renewed his call for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reassess the Dakota Access Pipeline after an expert hired by the tribe found inadequacies with the agenc...

A vehicle drives next to a series of pipes at a Dakota Access Construction site near the town of Cannonball, N.D., on Oct. 30, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Morgan/File Photo
A vehicle drives next to a series of pipes at a Dakota Access Construction site near the town of Cannonball, N.D., on Oct. 30, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Morgan/File Photo

BISMARCK – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II on Friday, Nov. 4, renewed his call for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reassess the Dakota Access Pipeline after an expert hired by the tribe found inadequacies with the agency’s environmental assessment.

A report by Richard Kuprewicz of consulting firm Accufacts Inc., hired by Standing Rock, found that the Army Corps failed to adequately address pipeline safety and the risks the pipeline poses to Lake Oahe and the tribe on the Standing Rock reservation, less than a mile away from the water crossing.

The report also found deficiencies in oil spill response planning and said the ability to remotely identify oil spills was “overstated and unsubstantiated,” among other concerns.

Archambault included the findings in an Oct. 28 letter to Assistant Secretary for the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, saying the report adds to “the compelling reasons for you to revisit the earlier decisions” and deny the easement for the Lake Oahe crossing.

“This underscores one of the fundamental deficiencies of the Final Environmental Assessment – it assumes, without foundation, that placing a massive oil pipeline just upstream from the Reservation presents no risk to the Tribe,” Archambault wrote.

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A Corps spokeswoman said the agency would not comment on the letter because it appears to be part of the ongoing litigation between the tribe and the agency.

The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now coalition, which supports the Dakota Access Pipeline, quickly refuted the report by Kuprewicz.

Spokesman Craig Stevens called the report an “activist-funded, back-of-the-envelope commentary” that should not be mentioned in the same breath as the scientific and technical analysis by the Corps of Engineers.

“Had this been an industry-funded screed it would be immediately dismissed,” Stevens said. “This should be given that same value.”

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