The public comment period on DAPL Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is closed​

Pursuant to Section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act, federal agencies have the authority to grant an easement for private oil and gas pipelines when the pipeline crosses federal land. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District is developing the Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the Dakota Access Pipeline easement request to cross federally managed land at Lake Oahe under this Mineral Leasing Act authority.

How to Provide Comments

The public comment period for the DAPL Draft Environmental Impact Statement is closed.

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 (Section 408), 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 Section 408 permission was supported by a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on an Environmental Assessment (EA), that was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This EA/FONSI was completed on July 25, 2016, the date that the Corps granted the Section 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 30-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 right-of-way 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 U.S. 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

The public scoping period the Dakota Access Pipeline Environmental Impact Statement initially occurred from September 26, 2020 to October 26, 2020.  However, an extension was granted and comments were ultimately received until November 26, 2020.

Tribal and Public Meetings

The Omaha District conducted one Tribal meeting on October 13, 2020 and two virtual public meetings on October 15 and 16, 2020. The DEIS was published on September 8, 2023. Two in-person Tribal meetings and two in-person public meetings were held on November 1 and 2 of 2023. In addition to the in-person public meetings, Omaha District held three virtual Tribal meetings on November 8, 2023 and December 6 and 7, 2023.