ETP CEO responds to oil pipeline issues
Energy Transfer Partners Chairman and CEO Kelcy Warren recently issued a memorandum to ETP employees and news media outlets where he discussed recent developments and the progress being made on the 1,172 mile, 30-inch diameter Dakota Access Pipeline from the Bakken/Three Forks crude oil production regions of North Dakota to a petroleum transshipment hub at Patoka, Ill.
"Recent events in North Dakota and Washington, DC have brought the project to the forefront of national media attention," said Warren. "I recognize that many of you are receiving questions about our work and I want to be the first to share with you our commitment to the project, what we know, and where I am focused."
Warren underscored the safety of the pipeline project when he said, "As one of the largest U.S. infrastructure companies, our experience in designing, constructing, and operating natural gas, crude oil, and refined products pipelines is extensive. We have designed the state-of-the-art Dakota Access pipeline as a safer and more efficient method of transporting crude oil than the alternatives being used today, namely rail and truck."
As far as current progress on the $3.8 billion project, Warren said, "Today the 1,172 mile project is nearly 60 percent complete, employs more than 8,000 highly trained skilled labor workers who are safely constructing it, and we have spent just over $1.6 billion on equipment, materials and the workforce to date. Once operational, the project will safely move American oil to American markets. It will reduce our dependence on oil from unstable regions of the world and drive down the cost of petroleum products for American industry and consumers."
On Friday Sept. 9, 2016, a federal judge reaffirmed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' previous decision to permit construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"Despite the judge's ruling that the project is in compliance with U.S. rules and regulations, the Department of Justice, Department of the Army and Department of Interior later announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is determining whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions and called on the company to voluntarily halt construction. We intend to meet with officials in Washington to understand their position and reiterate our commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation."
While expressing concern regarding incorrect information that's been published in newspapers and broadcast in TV news reports, Warren said, "Our corporate mindset has long been to keep our head down and do our work. It has not been my preference to engage in a media/PR battle. However, misinformation has dominated the news, so we will work to communicate with the government and media more clearly in the days to come."
Warren then moved on to discuss the progress being made on the project. Warren said the right of way for the entire pipeline has been obtained. All four states the pipeline traverses - North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, and Iowa - have issued favorable certificates, permits and approvals for construction.
Nearly the entire Dakota Access pipeline route is across private land. Related to the protests in North Dakota with a Sioux Indian tribe, Warren asserted that neither the land abutting nor Lake Oahe itself is subject to Native American control or ownership.
Warren noted that multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route. State archeologists issued a 'no significant sites affected' determination in February on the North Dakota segment of the pipeline.
Concerns about the pipeline's impact on the local water supply are unfounded, said Warren. To illustrate why, Warren noted, "Multiple pipelines, railways, and highways already cross the Missouri River today, carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil.