Skip to content Skip to footer

Dakota Access Oil Starts Flowing on Day of Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord

The manufacturer of the pipeline said Thursday morning that the vessel is now “in commercial service.”

Players in the dirty energy industry aren’t just giddy about the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Accord.

If President Trump does follow through on his campaign promise to pull out of the multilateral agreement, as widely anticipated on Thursday afternoon, the withdrawal will happen on the same day that the Dakota Access Pipeline was inaugurated. [Editor’s note: Trump is reportedly pulling out of the climate agreement.]

The manufacturer of the controversial pipeline said Thursday morning that the vessel is now “in commercial service.”

“The $3.8 billion Dakota Access consists of approximately 1,172 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline traversing North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois,” Energy Transfer Partners boasted in a press release.

The pipeline, which will connect oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota all the way down to terminals near the Gulf of Mexico, was vociferously opposed in a movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other indigenous nations. Opponents of the project said it would threaten clean water and sites that are sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux.

Protests against construction of Dakota Access raged for months last year, eventually forcing the Obama administration to delay approval of the fossil fuel infrastructure. The delay was quickly reversed by the Trump administration, after President Trump’s inauguration (a celebration funded, in part, by an Energy Transfer Partners executive).

Demonstrators had been met with violent law enforcement officials, who deployed chemical weapons and water cannons in freezing temperatures. Police also sicced attack dogs on protesters, in images that were transmitted around the world.

Earlier this week, The Intercept revealed that Energy Transfer Partners employed a private military contractor that equated Dakota Access protesters to a “jihadist insurgency.”

“[W]e can expect the individuals who fought for and supported it to follow a post-insurgency model after its collapse,” TigerSwan internal documents stated.

In other developments related to the fossil fuel industry, other major parties to the Paris Climate Accord said they have no intention of abandoning it.

“No one should be left behind, but the EU and China have decided to move forward,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union commissioner on climate change. “Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit.”

Chinese and EU officials are expected to release a joint statement reiterating their commitment to the Paris deal, according to a CNN report on Thursday.

Though not legally binding, the Paris Climate Deal was hashed out by almost every nation in the world. Signatories pledged to reduce carbon emissions in an effort to keep global temperature increases below 3.6 degrees Celsius — a target that itself is seen as insufficient in any bid to stop the most harmful impacts of climate change.

The Trump administration has already moved to abandon the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a power plant emissions-limiting initiative, which was crucial to the US meeting Paris accord commitments.