The developer of the oil pipeline Dakota Access missed a deadline for the end of the year to plant thousands of trees along the pipeline corridor in North Dakota. The company said it was still working on a settlement of accusations that it violated state regulations during construction.
The Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which have built the $ 3.8 billion pipeline that is now relocating North Dakota oil to Illinois, fall back on a provision from the September 2017 agreement that provides more time for the company to the problems are coming. The company must supply 20,000 trees to provincial soil protection districts along the 359-mile route of the North Dakota pipeline.
The deal with the public service of North Dakota solved accusations that ETP has removed too many trees in some areas and that it incorrectly dealt with a change in the pipeline route after discovering Indian artefacts.
The agreement required the company to replant trees and shrubs at a higher percentage in the controversial areas, along with another 20,000 trees along the entire route. ETP filed documents in October with the efforts of a contractor to plant 141,000 trees and shrubs, but the PSC asked the company a month later to provide more documentation that it had complied with all settlement conditions.
Lawyer Bender, corporate lawyer, recently submitted a report from contractor KC Harvey Environmental in which he explained the replanting efforts in the controversial areas. He noted that in some areas where landowners refused trees, the trees were allocated to other landowners "who had the space and desire to accommodate more plantings".
Only about 8,800 of the required 20,000 additional trees were planted in 2018. There were several factors, including equipment and personnel issues, difficulty finding willing landowners and poor planting conditions, according to perpetual environmental services, which contracted ETP to process the work.
A soil protection district in one of the seven provinces refused to participate at all because it did not believe that one of the 15 tree species identified in the settlement agreement was suitable.
The agreement ensures that the work can be continued until 2019 if there are problems with the tree supply "or other market conditions".