Project Background

On July 25, 2016, the Corps granted permission to applicant Dakota Access, LLC, under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, 33 U.S.C. 408 (408 permission), for a proposed pipeline crossing under Lake Oahe approximately 0.5 miles upstream of the northern boundary of the Standing Rock Reservation. The approximately 1,172-mile pipeline connects the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil market near Patoka, Illinois.

The 408 permission was supported by a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on an Environmental Assessment (EA), as contemplated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This EA/FONSI was completed on July 25, 2016, the date that the Corps granted the 408 permission. On February 8, 2017, the Corps granted an easement, with conditions, to cross federal property administered by the Corps at Lake Oahe, North Dakota. The Corps granted the easement under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA), 30 U.S.C. 185. The easement allowed for the installation, construction, operation, maintenance, repair, replacement and termination of a thirty-inch diameter horizontal directional drill buried oil pipeline for the purpose of transporting crude oil, and related facilities, at or under Lake Oahe Project in North Dakota, with a 50-foot wide width plus the ground occupied by the pipeline and related facilities. Operation of the pipeline began on June 1, 2017.

On March 25, 2020, the District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Corps to prepare an EIS for this portion of the pipeline because the pipeline’s “effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial.” 

Consistent with the Court’s decision, Dakota Access, LLC seeks an easement from the Corps for the original proposed project whose construction was completed on June 1, 2017.  A decision on whether to authorize the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe at the proposed location would be based on: (1) the July 25, 2016, EA/FONSI; (2) the Corps’ August 31, 2018, analysis on remand from a decision by the District Court; and (3) additional analysis developed through this EIS.

Public Scoping under NEPA

As the lead federal agency, the Corps will coordinate with the public, other state and local agencies, and Tribes in order to evaluate the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts of the proposed project. Comments are invited to assist in identifying the scope of potentially affected environmental, social, and economic issues relevant to the potential grant of an easement and determining if there are reasonable alternatives to be considered in the EIS.

Virtual Public Meetings

The Omaha District conducted two virtual public meetings on October 15, 2020 and October 16, 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the public meetings were conducted virtually via a live Facebook event.

How to Provide Comments

Comments on the DAPL EIS, can be mailed to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
CENWO-PMA-C (DAPL NOI)
1616 Capitol Avenue
Omaha, NE 68102

Comments can also be emailed to NWO-DAPL-EIS@usace.army.mil.

In addition, comments can be left via voicemail by calling (402) 995-2036. When leaving a message, please clearly state your name and comment which will be added to the formal record.

Comments on the scope of the EIS must be received no later than November 26, 2020.

Privacy Act Requirements
Before including your address, telephone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask in your comment that your personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the Corps cannot guarantee that this will occur.

RECENT PROJECT UPDATE

CORPS APPROVES SCHEDULE EXTENSION.

The USACE, Omaha District continues to work collaboratively with all interested parties within the region as it prepares the court directed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  The Corps has requested the assistance of Cooperating Agencies (Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and Oglala Sioux Tribes as well as the State of North Dakota) in the preparation of the EIS, asking each to provide special expertise input. Since inviting the Cooperating Agencies to assist, there has been a concern about the time provided to allow for their input.  A formal request to extend the existing schedule 6-month was recently received and after consideration the Corps has agreed to extend the schedule to allow time to conduct any studies or reviews necessary to contribute to the development of the EIS. Publication of the Final EIS is now projected for September 2022.