Regulators Plan To Fine Pipeline Operators For Safety Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal regulators say they plan to fine the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline $93,200 over pipeline safety violations.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration say the violations pertain to physical aspects of the pipeline and monitoring systems. There is no indication any of the violations have resulted in oil leakage.

Some of the violations cited by the agency include improper placement of valves for storm water drainage on tanks at six facilities in western North Dakota, as well as a failure to correct a condition related to the line’s ability to relieve pressure, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The pressure issue is partly to blame for triggering more than 9,000 alarms within Energy Transfer’s systems since oil began flowing through Dakota Access in 2017.

Regulators also say Energy Transfer failed to adequately prepare and follow its operations and maintenance manual.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is among opponents of the pipeline who fear an oil spill could contaminate their reservation.

“It’s not surprising to learn that the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline has failed to adhere to a long list of safety regulations,” Standing Rock Vice Chairman Ira Taken Alive said in a statement. “An oil spill from this pipeline would be devastating to our drinking water supply and that of millions of people downstream, placing us all in harm’s way.”

The company has 30 days to reply to the agency or request a hearing on the matter.

Energy Transfer spokeswoman Vicki Granado told the Bismarck Tribune on Friday that the company has already dealt with or is in the process of addressing all but one of the violations. She said the company will respond to the remaining issue “shortly."