This pipeline threatens the health and well-being of the Dakota and Lakota people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe through contamination of their waters, crops and sacred burial grounds.
A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline.
Personnel from the North Dakota Department of Health have been at the site since the spill was discovered and will continue to monitor the investigation and cleanup.
The cause of the leak is not yet known, Wendy Owen, spokeswoman for Casper, Wyo. -based True Cos., the pipeline's owner, said by phone on December 13. Spokeswoman Wendy Owen says it was equipped with monitoring equipment that failed to detect the leak. He said environmentalists' scientific approach has turned off others in the past, and has made people feel detached or objectified.
"The weather continues to still be the issue because the safety and security of the responders is our No. 1 priority", Owen said.
He also said that the spill covered about six miles of the creek, damaging an unknown amount of private and U.S. Forest Service land residing along the waterway.
The spill estimate of 4,200 barrels, or 176,400 gallons, is a "rough estimate" provided by the company, Suess said. Some of the oil remains trapped beneath the frozen creek.
True Cos. operates at least three pipeline companies with a combined 1,648 miles of line in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, according to information the companies submitted to federal regulators.
Since 2006, authorities have proposed $537,500 in penalties, of which the company paid $397,200.
The Dallas-based company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, has denied those assertions and insists the pipeline will be safe.
Shortly after the leak was discovered, a labor group in the region with members working on the Dakota Access pipeline criticized True Companies for what it called a track record of accidents. Developers have already announced they have "no plans" to reroute the pipeline and it has been widely suggested that the project could receive an enthusiastic green light once Donald Trump's presidential administration officially begins January 20, 2017.