Refuting Some of the Most Common Dakota Access Myths

CLAIM: Dakota Access will affect drinking water.

TRUTH: The US Army Corps of Engineers, over their two year review and permitting process, found that the materials and methods used by Dakota Access LLC will pose a minimal risk to the Missouri River.

“Given the HDD approach used for both crossings and the avoidance of impacts that results from this technique, the attempt to cross at a narrow expanse of the river further limiting risk, the reduced potential for impacts resulting from the HDD process, movement of a pump station away from the River at the request of the Corps, the necessity to cross the Missouri River in at least one location, and the federal programs governing response actions, the risk to water resources from this crossing are minimal.”


CLAIM: Dakota Access is not safe to cross the Missouri River and should not be built.

TRUTH: The Dakota Access Pipeline will be the one of the most advanced energy infrastructure projects in the country. Moreover, the existing crude rail traffic represents a much larger threat to the Missouri River. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reports that the 1.15 million gallons of crude oil spilled in 2013 by railcar operations exceeded the total amount spilled since the government agency began keeping count more than four decades ago. In May 2015, an oil tanker train derailed near Heimdal, North Dakota spilling 94,000 gallons and resulting several large explosions.


CLAIM: Dakota Access officials did not consult the Standing Rock Sioux (SRST) about this project.

TRUTH: This is a frequent and blatantly false claim made by all protestors. Dakota Access and US Army Corps of Engineers officials met with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other Native groups nearly 400 times, some of which the tribe chose not to attend on their own accord.


CLAIM: The Standing Rock Sioux’s concerns and cultural sites were ignored.

TRUTH: Concerns were not ignored. In North Dakota alone, the project was altered 140 times to avoid potential areas where concerns were raised. Several archaeologists have surveyed the site beyond the US Army Corps of Engineers and found no reason to change the project’s route further. Following allegations that cultural sites were destroyed, officials facilitated a site visit to allow state and federal government officials, representatives of the SRST and other tribes, and state archaeologists to view these cultural sites. The site visit confirmed that these cultural sites had not been disturbed.


CLAIM: Dakota Access didn’t work with North Dakotans.

TRUTH: Dakota Access LLC worked with landowners, community members and leaders, elected officials, other stakeholders, and regulators to chart a route that was considerate of all concerns.  Following an extensive review the project received its permits in all four states—North Dakota is no exception. Project officials held 559 meetings with community leaders, businesses, agricultural and civic organizations, and local elected officials, as well as hundreds of meetings with local, state and federal regulatory and permitting agencies spanning a 2 ½ year period leading up to the fully permitted and authorized pipeline.


CLAIM: Dakota Access should take the route near Bismarck.

TRUTH: The final route selected was always the preferred route. The Bismarck route was not submitted to the ND Public Service Commission because it would have crossed 27 more waterways, more agriculture land and would have been significantly is longer. Additionally, that route was constrained by the Public Service Commission’s rule requiring a 500-foot buffer between pipelines and homes. Finally, the selected route is collocated with another pipeline and transmission line to minimize any impacts to environmental, cultural, or archaeological sites.