Energy Transfer Partners’ $3.8-billion Dakota Access pipeline will begin carrying crude oil from the Bakken play to Illinois on May 14, the company said in a regulatory filing. The pipeline was loaded at the end of March, after months of protests from indigenous communities and environmentalists.
Initially, the protests led the previous administration to suspend the project, but when Donald Trump became President, the launch of the Dakota Access was the first executive order he signed.
Now protests are continuing, with acts of vandalism also a possibility, after last month reports emerged that the FBI is investigating two such acts at a section of the pipeline in Sioux County, Iowa. Energy Transfer Partners said that attacks had been carried out in South Dakota as well, which was later confirmed by local authorities.
The pipeline project was subject to environmental reviews that concluded it is safe for the environment and will not encroach on sacred lands, but the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters are not giving up the battle, despite two court rulings in favor of the pipeline.
Meanwhile, activists are closing their accounts in banks that have taken part in funding Energy Transfer Partners’ project. Perhaps the most striking example of this was the city of Seattle’s decision—the result of vigorous lobbying from anti-DAPL campaigners—to sever its links with one of the pipeline’s creditors, Wells Fargo. Now, there are campaigns in several other cities to do the same.
Three of the 17 banks that provided the funding for the projects have now pulled out, among them Dutch ING, Norwegian DNB, and just recently French BNP Paribas. The French bank said it had sold its $120-million share in the funding scheme after “an extended and comprehensive review of the project including consultation with all stakeholders.”