A hearing for the Dakota Access pipeline’s court-ordered Environmental Impact Study has been set for 6 to 9 p.m. CST on Oct. 15 and 16 to gather input on the evaluation of an easement that crosses federal land at Lake Oahe on the Missouri River.
Both public hearings will be conducted virtually using a live Facebook feed. The link, which may be accessed via either phone or computer is https://www.facebook.com/OmahaUSACE/live/
Those who do not have a Facebook account can still watch the meeting online via the link, but cannot access the chat feature to ask questions. Questions for those without access to the chat feature may be emailed to NWO-DAPL-EIS@usace.army.mil during the event.
A facilitator will moderate both the chat function and email to address as many comments and questions as possible.
For those without internet, a dial-in phone access is available.
For Oct. 15, that number is 844-291-5491, access code 4922896.
For Oct. 16, the dial-in number is 844-767-5679 with access code 8274135.
Relevant comments include the scope of potentially affected environmental, social, and economic issues to the easement, as well as reasonable alternatives that should be considered in the EIS.
Scoping comments may also be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, ATTN: CENWO-PMA-C (DAPL NOI) 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102 or emailed to NWO-DAPL-EIS@usace.army.mil or left via voice mail at 402-995-2036.
All comments must be post-marked or received by Oct. 26 to be considered for the scoping portion of the EIS.
The hearings come even as an appeal of the order to conduct this lengthier study of the pipeline’s Lake Oahe crossing continues.
A federal appeals court in August granted Dakota Access an emergency stay of an order in March that would have required the pipeline to cease operation and empty itself of oil by Aug. 5. That order remains in effect while the appeals process moves forward.
The appeals court said that the lower court failed to look at the proper criteria for shutting down a pipeline, and has kicked the case back to the District Court of Columbia, potentially giving opponents of the pipeline another bite at the apple.
The US District Court of Columbia has set a deadline for legal arguments and responses on this round two through Dec. 18.
The federal appeals court, meanwhile, set its hearing for arguments on Nov. 4 — one day after the November general election.
Dakota Access was completed in 2017 amid violent protests that attracted international attention and thousands of protesters to the banks of the Cannonball River, near the Lake Oahe crossing.
The $3.8 billion pipeline is North Dakota’s largest, carrying up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day out of the Bakken, or 40 percent of the state’s production at peak.
It is considered vital infrastructure by the oil and gas industry. Other sectors, meanwhile, have credited the pipeline with helping relieve congestion on the railway system for commodities like grain.