Energy Transfer Misses Year-End Deadline to Plant Trees Along Dakota Access Pipeline

Energy Transfer (ET), developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, failed to meet the year-end deadline to plant 20,000 trees in county soil conservation districts along the pipeline’s 359-mile route in North Dakota, Associated Press reported.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which built the $3.8 billion pipeline that moves North Dakota oil to Illinois, is falling back on a provision of the September 2017 agreement with North Dakota regulators that gives the company more time should it run into problems. The agreement reportedly allows for the work to continue through 2019 if there are issues with the tree supply “or other market conditions.” Energy Transfer Partners closed a merger with Energy Transfer Equity in October 2018 and is now part of merged entity Energy Transfer.

According to the report, the company was only able to plant about 8,800 of the required 20,000 additional trees in 2018. There were several factors that caused the missed deadline, including equipment and staffing issues, difficulties finding willing landowners and poor planting conditions, Associated Press said, citing Perennial Environmental Services, the company Energy Transfer Partners hired to handle the job.

The deal with North Dakota’s public service commission settled allegations that Energy Transfer removed too many trees in certain areas and that it mishandled a pipeline route change after discovering Native American artifacts.