US Regulator Issues Notice to Dakota Access Pipeline Over Safety Concerns

(Reuters) — The U.S. Department of Transportation's pipeline regulator on Thursday put the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Energy Transfer LP, on notice for probable violations of safety regulations and proposed a civil penalty against it.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) notice listed probable violations ranging from the location of storm water drainage at six pipeline facilities and failure to follow assessment guidelines relating to possible incidents in sensitive areas where the pipeline operates.

The PHMSA recommended a civil penalty of $93,200 against the company for the violations and said failure to correct the issues may result in further enforcement action.

In June, a U.S. district court closed a long-running case against the DAPL, a 570,000-barrel-per-day pipeline out of North Dakota that travels under a Missouri River reservoir, but allowed for Native American tribes and other opponents of the line to file additional actions against it.

Energy Transfer was not immediately available to comment.

"An oil spill from this pipeline would be devastating to our drinking water supply and that of millions of people downstream, placing us all in harm's way. That's why we have opposed DAPL from the very beginning and fought its continued operation at every turn," Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's vice chairman, Ira Taken Alive, said in a statement issued on Thursday by Earthjustice group, which represents the tribe in the lawsuit. 

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