It's been a week since the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would not grant a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the river that the indigenous Sioux people relied upon for their drinking, farming and washing.
The DAPL was running through Sioux territory in large part because the settler communities nearby had indicated that they would not tolerate such a risky proposition when it came to their own water. The water protectors of the Sioux and their allies from around the nation gathered to ensure that native Americans would not be forced at literal gunpoint to accept the risk that nearby whites would not tolerate.
But Energy Transfer Partners -- who have pinned their hopes on Trump reverse the Army and permitting their pipeline -- maintained that this fear was misplaced and that there were no real risks to their proposition.
Yesterday, we learned that the Belle Fourche Pipeline had spilled at least 176,000 gallons of crude oil into Ash Coulee Creek, 150 miles from Cannon Ball, ND, where the water protectors made their stand. The electronic monitoring equipment that was supposed to detect this leak failed.
Suess said the spill migrated almost 6 miles from the spill site along Ash Coulee Creek, and it fouled an unknown amount of private and U.S. Forest Service land along the waterway. The creek feeds into the Little Missouri River, but Seuss said it appears no oil got that far and that no drinking water sources were threatened. The creek was free-flowing when the spill occurred but has since frozen over.
About 60 workers were on site Monday, and crews have been averaging about 100 yards daily in their cleanup efforts, he said. Some of the oil remains trapped beneath the frozen creek.
Suess says about 37,000 gallons of oil have been recovered.
"It's going to take some time," Suess said of the cleanup. "Obviously there will be some component of the cleanup that will go toward spring."
Pipeline spills 176,000 gallons of crude into creek about 150 miles from Dakota Access protest camp
(Image: Oil Covering a Beach - Black Sea Oil Spill 11/12/07, Photos by Igor GOLUBENKOV (NGO: Saving Taman), CC-BY)