Top 25 DAPL Issues Table.xlsx
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Issue No:
DAPL Environmental Assesment Explanation of Issues
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1The finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the crossing of Lake Oahe in a HDD tunnel 92’ below the surface of the lake is a wrong conclusion presented by the DAPL EA and initially supported by USACE.
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2The DAPL EA EA was prepared with a pre-decisional intent and is a biased document that appears to have been prepared with the desired result known from the outset.
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3The DAPL EA lacks engineering integrity. The FONSI can neither be supported by previous precedent nor generally accepted industry practice and should be vacated immediately.
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4Not enough reasonable alternatives were seriously considered by DAPL to address the unresolved conflicts between stakeholders. In particular, routing alternatives.
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5The DAPL solution is the perfect technical storm and relies on the worst of all potential technical factors, including: (1) crude oil product (2) in a large-diameter pipeline and (3) in a 1.5 mile long HDD tunnel 92 feet below the surface of the lake.
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6So much emphasis was placed on following the existing Northern Border gas pipeline routing completed in 1983 that an alternative route further north that would have resulted in no major or minor river or lake crossings was not even contemplated.
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7It is inappropriate to authorize DAPL to cross Lake Oahe as contemplated in the EA without further analysis, more rigorous exploration and analysis of siting alternatives. Accordingly, the USACE did not grant easement to cross Lake Oahe as contemplated based on the current record.
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8Preparing a full Environmental Impact Statement is the best and most responsible recommendation at this stage given the level of conflict between stakeholders and fatal flaws thus far discovered resulting in an inadequate EA.
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9the USACE have clearly sided with the obvious need for the tribal government leaders and representatives or experts to be granted the ability to review and respond to the critical documents that had been previously kept secret from the tribe. These documents are
• Lake Oahe Spill Model Discussion Report
• Lake Oahe HDD Risk Analysis Report
• DAPL Route Comparison.
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10It is disappointing and troubling that these documents have still not been made available by DAPL to the tribes team of technical experts.
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11The DAPL solution is the perfect technical storm and relies on the worst of all potential technical factors, including: (1) crude oil product (2) in a large-diameter pipeline and (3) in a 1.5 mile long HDD tunnel 92 feet below the surface of the lake.
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12Without access to do a full technical review to evaluate further technical difficulties and based on what what was presented in the DAPL EA, there is no foundation that this is the least risk alternative or the finding of no significant environmental impact.
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13The business interests of DAPL have compromised the integrity and responsibility of the engineers responsible for the DAPL project.
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14The selection of the route was not based on the route posing the least risk alternative and that alone should be reason to support the need for a full review as contemplated by the USACE memo of December 4th.
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15It has become well known that DAPL has negotiated commercial off-take agreements that required the pipelines commercial operation by January 1, 2017. It should be investigated further as to whether the routing recommended was premature and may have been the fallout of DAPL’s management desire to shorten the time to full commercial operation.
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16The decision to recommend the routing under Lake Oahe appears to be the direct result of the heavy weighting DAPL applied to the requirement to follow the existing corridor in the questionable and subjective evaluation tables 2.1 and 2.2 in the EA. This was by far the dominating factor in the outcome of their analysis. Alternative objective routes should be evaluated.
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17The results of the EA and the FONSI allowed USACE to prematurely issue the highly contested Section 408 permit. Unfortunately, the result led to the requirement to place the crossing at Lake Oahe.
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18What the EA failed to evaluate or even present was another alternative route even further North and East of the Missouri River that should have been evaluated. This alternative routing has no major or minor river or lake crossings and is actually shorter than the current DAPL proposed routing.
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19The key factor we would like to emphasize that the EA fails to discuss objectively is the fact that no similar application of a crude oil large diameter pipeline exists that crosses a freshwater lake via a large-diameter HDD tunnel anywhere in the World.
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20The DAPL solution is the perfect technical storm and relies on the worst of all potential technical factors, including: (1) crude oil product (2) in a large-diameter pipeline and (3) in a 1.5 mile long HDD tunnel 92 feet below the surface of the lake.
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21This design solution culminates in such an extreme high level of potential environmental and safety risk that an EIS is required because The EA does not currently address a leak or spill in the HDD section and full remediation of a clean-up of contaminated soil around the tunnel. Actually, clean-up of a spill in the HDD tunnel outside the pipe is a technical impossibility to perform.
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22Unfortunately, the worst in this case means that any leak or spill in the HDD section results in permanent and deep contamination to the surrounding soils 92’ below the surface of the lake. Those contaminated soils will inevitably seep and poison the Hell Creek and Fox Hills aquifers and waters of Lake Oahe. The Hell Creek and Fox Hills formations are the major aquifers in the state and many residents depend on these formations for the water usage. These are regional aquifers for not only North Dakota but also other surrounding states.
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23It appears placement of the HDD tunnel could not be any lower than the 92’ section because it would have run into the Pierre Formation, a dark grey to black shale that has low strength and has the high risk potential for causing landslides. Concerns about landslides have been presented by various local stakeholders as a significant project risk, including the Accufacts report prepared on behalf of the Standing Rock tribe dated October 28, 2016. The EA seems to support that this risk does not exist and we don’t have enough information to credibly confirm or deny this at this time.
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24It is a proven fact that significant pipeline leaks and spills do occur regularly cannot be credibly denied. Project sponsors involved with this project thus far have completely ignored that the HDD crossing at Lake Oahe would become one of the rare examples of a perfect pipeline that never leaks or ruptures if it were to avoid soil and water contamination.
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25NEPA requires the best currently available technical data be used in impact assessment. There is no way to mitigate a leak or rupture from contaminating the soil and water if a leak should happen in the HDD tunnel 92’ below the surface of the Lake.
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