Yesterday afternoon, Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge announced that, along with Marathon Petroleum, it will make a significant investment in the Bakken Pipeline System, including the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. As part of their statement, Enbridge also noted that, “Upon successful closing of the transaction, EEP and Marathon Petroleum plan to terminate their transportation services and joint venture agreements for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project.”
This development leaves Sandpiper at least on its last legs and most likely terminated altogether, since it is unlikely that another major shipper would take Marathon’s place given falling Bakken production and continued low oil prices. This is good news for communities along the proposed route of the pipeline, which faced intense grassroots resistance because of the threat it would have posed to water resources and the way of life of Tribal communities in Northern Minnesota.
However, the deal once again raises serious concerns about Enbridge’s activities across the Midwest. Evidence of Enbridge’s questionable dealings continues to pile up – from its attempts to avoid review of its Alberta Clipper expansion, to recent revelations about the company using defective pipeline parts, and its scheme to fast track its Line 3 pipeline project. These dealings, combined with the company’s egregious safety record and history of spills, confirm that the company has long been a bad actor in the region. Enbridge’s increased involved with additional projects can only mean additional threats to land, water, communities, Tribal rights, and climate.
“I'm thrilled Enbridge is pulling away from Sandpiper at the moment. Not so happy that the company is putting its resources into Dakota Access,” said Joye Braun of Indigenous Environmental Network. “It fails to see the death warrant of fossil fuels or that for profit companies have no right to trample on treaty territory or ignore tribal nations who repeatedly say ‘No’ to them.”
“Sandpiper has always been a bad idea for the climate, water, and people of Minnesota, and now it's clearly an economic mistake for Enbridge as well," said Andy Pearson, Midwest Tar Sands Coordinator with MN350. “While Enbridge and ETP may be a perfect match since both companies trample on tribal rights and skirt environmental review, the Dakota Access pipeline is a disaster in the making and must not be built. The Bakken boom is over, this oil must stay in the ground, and we need to invest in renewables instead of dirty pipelines.”
“After four years of hard work on the Sandpiper – and as the people who would be most impacted by the proposed pipeline – we are extremely happy with this announcement. Our tribes have opposed this from the start,” said Winona LaDuke, Executive Director, Honor the Earth. “The battle against the nefarious Line 3 – with 760,000 barrels per day of oil – and the Alberta Clipper expansion – of 400,000 barrels – continues to impact our sacred wild rice watershed. The entire set of projects in light of a massive drop in Bakken production and decline in oil prices remains a financial problem for Enbridge. Our tribes stand opposed to any new lines.”
“Our country does not need any more pipeline infrastructure to meet our energy needs,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance President. “Investors are finally catching up to what landowners and climate groups have known for years; the transition from fossil fuels has begun.”