SD, Iowa authorities investigate vandalism to Dakota Access pipeline
MORTON COUNTY, N.D.
MORTON COUNTY, N.D. – Authorities in South Dakota and Iowa are investigating vandalism to the Dakota Access Pipeline, but North Dakota agencies have not received reports of threats to the controversial oil pipeline.
In court records filed late Monday, Dakota Access LLC said “recent coordinated physical attacks” along the pipeline route have posed threats to life, physical safety and the environment.
In South Dakota, authorities received a report on March 17 that someone burned a hole through an above-ground section of an oil pipeline at a valve site just south of Sioux Falls, according to Chief Deputy Chad Brown of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
A torch may have been used to create the hole, causing about $30,000 to $60,000 in damage, Brown said. No suspects had been identified, Brown said. The incident occurred between March 15 and March 17, Brown said.
In Iowa, the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a similar incident at a safety valve site about 60 miles southeast of Des Moines.
A Dakota Access Pipeline employee reported a hole that appeared to be caused by a torch in an above-ground section of pipe, said Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem. The incident was discovered on March 13 and could have happened between March 3 and 13, he said.
The pipeline did not contain any oil but was pressurized with nitrogen gas, Van Renterghem said. The site is protected by a security fence with razor wire, but it appears the suspect crawled under a gap beneath the gate, he said.
On Monday, Dakota Access filed a motion to keep most of its construction status report confidential, citing the recent attacks.
Dakota Access spokeswoman Vicki Granado said Tuesday the company is not providing any more information about the attacks at this time.
Rob Keller, a spokesman for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, said North Dakota agencies have not been notified of any vandalism or threats to the pipeline route.
The 1,172-mile pipeline crosses North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
In court records, Dakota Access said “oil may flow sometime this week” through the pipeline.
“These coordinated attacks will not stop line-fill operations,” Dakota Access attorneys wrote.