05:47 GMT19 June 2021
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    Ahead of the Dakota Access pipeline’s launch for commercial use, the hotly contested project has leaked 84 gallons of crude oil in South Dakota.

    The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has been protesting the pipeline since April 2016, has repeatedly warned that a big leak would be catastrophic for the water supply of millions of people.

    The spill took place on April 4, and leaked the equivalent of two barrels of oil. The recovered oil was filtered and put back into the system, while rocks and soil that was affected was cleaned and “disposed of,” the state’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources told Reuters.

    The pipeline is intended to transport nearly half a million barrels of oil per day under a large lake, across the Missouri River and through other sensitive ecological habitats.

    Four days after his inauguration, US President Donald Trump signed four executive orders aimed at speeding up the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Dakota Access pipeline and other infrastructure projects.

    The Standing Rock Sioux tribe asserts that the pipeline is destructive to both sacred tribal lands and to the greater environment. The activists refer to themselves as “water protectors” rather than protesters, and have been joined by thousands of people from across the nation in their year-long public opposition to the project.

    A spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the pipeline, told Reuters that the spill took place in a containment area, so the surrounding area was not affected.

    The pipeline is scheduled to be in service on June 1.


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