In April, the Dakota Access Pipeline spilled 84 gallons of oil, which pipeline critics say proves it needs further environmental studies. The pipeline will carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois for refining.
The spill occurred in South Dakota on April 4, 100 miles east of the Missouri River's Lake Oahe reservoir, said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He told The Associated Press it happened at a rural pump station and because it was contained onsite, it was never a threat to public health or drinking water systems. "Size-wise, an 84-gallon release is pretty small relative to a lot of other things we work on," Walsh said. "I would characterize it as a small operational spill that was cleaned up right away."
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault disagrees, and his tribe argues that the spill proves the pipeline, which they have sued to stop, could ruin their water supply and cultural artifacts. "These spills are going to be nonstop," he said. "With 1,200 miles of pipeline, spills are going to happen. Nobody listened to us. Nobody wants to listen, because they're driven by money and greed." The pipeline is expected to be fully operational by June 1, and while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had planned to do an additional environmental study, that idea was dropped after President Trump pushed to get the pipeline completed.