The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) yesterday unanimously rejected a request from environmental activist groups to delay a determination on Energy Transfer’s Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) optimization project due to the coronavirus pandemic. Activist groups claimed the oil price downturn caused by the pandemic lessened the need for the expansion, which would nearly double the capacity of the crude oil pipeline through the construction of three new pump stations along the route with no new mainline construction. The project has already received the necessary approvals from regulators in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa, and is awaiting a final decision from the ICC.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile crude oil pipeline that has safely transported up to 570,000 bpd from the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota to the Patoka Oil Terminal in Patoka, Illinois, since it came into service nearly three years ago.
Below is a statement that can be attributed to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition:
“GAIN commends the Illinois Commerce Commission for continuing to review and consider the merits of the Dakota Access Pipeline optimization project. Activists have continued to exploit the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus to further an anti-fossil fuel agenda that fails to consider the long-term energy and economic ramifications. But it is paramount that regulators and policymakers keep in mind the pandemic-induced oil downturn is only a temporary hurdle, and the nation must be prepared for increased demand when this passes.
“Increasing the capacity of Dakota Access strategically positions the United States to maintain both energy security and energy dominance in a post-coronavirus world. In addition to ensuring affordable access to domestic oil, DAPL optimization is a shovel-ready project that will provide new economic benefits to the communities along its route, including thousands of high-skilled jobs and new streams of tax revenue. GAIN trusts that the ICC will ultimately make the right decision to secure our nation’s energy future and approve the optimization of a critical component of our nation’s energy infrastructure network.”