$3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline begins service

The oil will flow from the Bakken/Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to a storage and terminal hub outside Patoka, IL and/or down to additional terminals in Nederland, TX, the firm said.

The underground Dakota Access Piipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which would be sent to markets and refineries in the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, according to Energy Transfer Crude Oil Co. Law enforcement and pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners say safety was the top priority.

The AP reported that "North Dakota's Public Service Commission is looking into whether Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners removed too many trees and shrubs, and whether it improperly reported the discovery of Native American artifacts".

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe had also asked protesters to leave, saying the fight over the pipeline belongs in court.

Native American and environmental activists led opposition to the DAPL over the past two years, citing concerns that a portion of the pipeline crossing a lake that connects to the Missouri River could contaminate local water resources in the event of a major leak.

The Sioux nation first protested the pipeline during the Obama administration, arguing it ran close to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and over land they consider historically sacred.

In March, a United States appeals court in Washington denied the tribes' request for an emergency order that would have blocked the pipeline from being used, saying the plaintiffs had not met their "heavy burden" of proof for an injunction.

President Donald Trump eventually overturned his predecessor's memo, essentially clearing the way for the project to resume unimpeded. It has commitments to ship about 520,000 barrels per day and could pipe as much as 570,000 barrels per day.

"This pipeline became operational today, yet it has already leaked at least three times".

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