Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is in full swing here in East River. The pipeline crosses Highway 19 just south of the Montrose corner. Saturday, the pipe had been laid under the road and was awaiting connection with the line on both sides of the road.
My dad looked at that standing water and said that won’t hurt that pipe any. What that pipe and its eventual 450,000 to 570,000 daily barrels of Bakken oil may do to our water is a separate question.
This section of the pipeline was Made in the USA, so surely nothing will go wrong. Of course, that burger was also Made in the USA, and it still left someone on the Michels crew dissatisfied.
Those barriers will keep the excavated dirt from washing away, but they won’t replace the corn that’s been buried.
North and west from the 19 crossing, just a couple miles west of Buffalo Trading Post on 248th Street, Michels has connected some sections of the pipeline.
Just over the hill from that crossing, folks were out boating and fishing on Island Lake. In sight of the northeastern shore is the pipeline construction route.
Up in Lake County, Dakota Access crosses 451st Avenue just north of Orland. Here Michels had to pump water out of the trench to get some work done. The water appears to have spread out beyond the construction easement onto the surrounding cropland.
Orland farmer Charlie Johnson tells me he met with Dakota Access public liaison Eric Munz to review the layout of drainage tile lines in the Orland township farmland that Dakota Access traverses. Johnson said Michels Construction had already severed one tile line and had left it unrepaired and spilling water for several weeks. Johnsons says Munz granted him and his contractor permission to review the final repairs will eventually make to severed tile lines. The next morning, public liaison Munz sent Johnson this message:
I just want to clarify a couple things about our conversation yesterday. I had explained to you that DAPL is required to restore the tile to pre-construction condition including taking measures so it does not sag or settle. I also stated they will use a tile bridge (Mad Dog Foam Bridge) and will run a scope to inspect as well as following the Aggicultural Impact Mitigation Plan which you stated you are familiar with. You and Alan questioned several times why DAPL was not willing to go beyond their legal responsibilities to “do the right thing” or be ethical in regards to the letter your attorney sent and the request to have your tile contractor approve their methods of repair. I suggested part of the reason may be due to the fact they do not agree with or believe some things to be true that you have put on social media and the fact that you oppose the pipeline. I offered to alert you as much in advance as I can of when the tile repairs will be performed and to be present at that time to document conversations between you, your tile repair contractor and the people involved in tile repair [Dakota Access Pipeline public liaison Eric Munz, e-mail to Charlie Johnson, 2016.06.21].
Translation: Dakota Access may favor some landowners with better treatment than others based on whether they support the pipeline and keep their mouths shut.
On Wednesday, June 22, Michels Construction severed Charlie Johnson’s six-inch tile line. The next morning, water was still spilling out of the cut tile line, filling the pipeline trench and inundating adjoining farmland where Johnson is trying to grow oats and alfalfa.
When Johnson heads to town, perhaps he will imagine an alternative route for Dakota Access: