It’s not surprising that Energy Transfer Partners would want the Dakota Access Pipeline to seem like a done deal on all fronts but the contested easement in North Dakota. But I received the following information today from a trusted source who has surveilled and documented DAPL work sites in Illinois, and confirmed that construction in Illinois is not nearly so complete as Energy Transfer Partners would like us to believe.
Communique from Rozalinda Borcila, December 9, 2016
This is an active DAPL construction site at the crossing of the Kaskaskia River. Energy Transfer Partners obtained permits from the Army Corps of Engineers for crossing waterways though Horizontal Direct Drilling at three sites in Illinois that are under Army Corps jurisdiction. At this site, pieces of the pipe are being lined up and positioned in preparation for being pulled under the river — the staging area is just West of the location at which the pipe will be inserted under the ground. The pipe can be seen in the detail shot. All four roads accessing the site are closed. The site is heavily monitored by private security as well as plain clothed police officers in unmarked cars. In this portion of the pipeline route, we were able to see state police and well as sheriffs posted at construction access roads, offering protection and security services to Energy Transfer Partners and Precision Pipeline.
We were stopped by a convoy of 5 police vehicles (three of which were unmarked) while driving on a public county road not far from this location. The plain clothed officer who came to our car did not immediately identify himself; the first thing he showed us was his gun. He informed us we looked suspicious because in a rural area everyone knows everyone and we were in a place we weren’t supposed to be. We informed him we were on a county road; another officer notified us we had been seen earlier in the day “trespassing.” I can only assume he was referring to our activities more than 20 miles away on another stretch of the pipeline route, where we were also driving on county roads.
The entire time, we followed the construction signs of Precision PipeLine company, the contractor building the pipeline. These signs are posted publicly at intersections within a mile or so radius of many of the construction sites.
Since October, Energy Transfer Partners have repeatedly stated that construction in Illinois is mostly complete. They have been lying. At the Kaskaskia River, the pipe was not in the ground as of December 9. There are numerous sites near at which there is surface work that remains to be done: stabilizing the fill-in areas, grading and leveling. There are also active construction sites at the location of over a dozen valves (this involves setting up fencing around the valves, securing satellite connections, lights and sensor equipment without which the valves cannot be operational). Almost all of the sites we visited that were near a creek or small water crossing were still under construction, although most of these are done through the open cut method and do not require the extensive time of an HDD process.