The Dakota Access Pipeline may be completed in the next few weeks, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers scrapped a study of its environmental threat at a contested crossing beneath a water reservoir in the Missouri River. But a group of 120 large investors is the latest to call for a different ending to the story.
The Corps’ study, ordered by President Barack Obama, was launched just two days before his term of office ended. The U.S. Army announced that the project had been scrapped in a February 17 Federal Register entry.
Authorities had given what NBC News describes as a “few hundred people” a final deadline of today to abandon a camp established last summer to protest the pipeline’s advance. The Standing Rock Sioux, whose original protest against the DAPL caught global attention, attracting hundreds of outsider supporters to join the pipeline blockade, have also asked the remaining campers to leave.
“Authorities want the area cleaned and closed before spring floodwaters wash tons of trash and debris into nearby rivers, including the Missouri River, and cause an environmental disaster,” NBC reports.
The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux have continued to fight the pipeline in court, however. And even as the Army Corps announced the abandonment of its inconclusive study, the Huffington Post reported that “a group of more than 120 investors told 17 banks financing construction of the pipeline that the project should be rerouted.”
The group includes the giant funds handling pension savings for California’s public employees as well as New York City teachers and firefighters, “dozens of religious organizations,” and wealth managers. It claims to oversee a combined US$653 billion in assets. The investors addressed their statement to Citibank, Wells Fargo, and others that have loaned money to companies building the US$3.8-billion, 1,900-kilometre, 450,000 barrel-per-day pipeline.
Despite being close to completion, numerous reports in recent weeks have suggested the financial viability of the line’s main developer, Energy Transfer Partners, is on a knife edge.