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Dakota Access Pipeline already leaking

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It was only a matter of time before Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline had an oil spill or leak, and sure enough, it has happened. Funny thing about it, though - It happened last month and we're just now hearing about it, reported Digital Journal (Canada).

The Associated Press is reporting the April 4 oil spill was relatively small, at approximately 84 gallons, and was quickly cleaned up, nor did it threaten any waterways.
According to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the spill was caused by a mechanical failure. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources posted a report about the spill on its website but didn't announce the spill to the public, despite an ongoing lawsuit by four Sioux tribes seeking to shut down the pipeline.

Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the state agency said on Wednesday that the agency doesn't routinely release information on oil spills unless there is a threat to the public's health, wildlife or public drinking water. Actually, Walsh said the leak didn't come as a surprise to him because such incidents have happened with other pipelines in the state. They must happen fairly often because according to Walsh, the state has 200 to 300 pipeline leaks every year.

"This is what we have said all along: Oil pipelines leak and spill," said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II, according to VICE. "The Dakota Access pipeline has not yet started shipping the proposed half million barrels of oil per day, and we are already seeing confirmed reports of oil spills from the pipeline."

Another worrying problem with the oil leak incident is that it took ETP two days to report the leak. State law demands that any pipeline leaks be reported immediately, but ETP was not censured in any way for its delay in reporting or the fact that the leak occurred.

However, Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in court, says, "It doesn't say much for the accountability of the company and the transparency of the regulatory process when these things happen and there's no notification to the public."
Kudos should go out to the reporter with the Aberdeen American News, a local outlet, who broke the story after finding the leak information on the state's spill website.

In the meantime, it has also been learned that ETP does not have emergency equipment in place to handle a major oil spill, should one occur. According to court documents, the company has one year after the oil starts flowing June 1 to get the equipment in place.

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Operations at more than a dozen JPMorgan Chase bank branches were disrupted by climate activists in Seattle Monday in response to their role in funding pipeline projects such as the Keystone and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, reported AlterNet.

The protest was organized by 350 Seattle, as well as Native American activists who participated in the year-long Standing Rock action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Twenty-six protesters had been arrested by Monday afternoon, but the groups vow to continue putting pressure on big banks.

“If we can make these projects as politically toxic as they are for the environment, maybe they will get cold feet," explained Emily Johnston, communications manager for 350 Seattle.

On Tuesday, "Young Turks" co-hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian praised the effort.
"I think that activists are realizing that it is one thing to go after those who are constructing the pipeline or the companies behind the pipeline; it's also very effective to go after the banks that are funding the construction of these pipelines," Kasparian opened.

"I think it is such an effective strategy," agreed Uygur. "I think they took it from me, except I've never said it on-air, so I don't know how they read my mind."

Uygur, who was arrested in Washington D.C. during last year's Democracy Spring action, encouraged the protesters to keep going.

"I think these kinds of actions at businesses are effective; I think that's what people are worried about them," he said, and offered a small suggestion: "You know, if possible, what I would want is small business owners... your accountant down the street, your dentist, to go to these protests," he added. "Because when you touch their pocketbooks, that's when you get real change."

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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