Punish Company Responsible for Dakota Access Pipeline Spill

Target: Steven M. Pirner, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Dakota

Goal: Hold Energy Transfer Partners, the company which owns the Dakota Access Pipeline, accountable for a recent oil leak.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is still in construction and has not even begun shipping oil, yet it has already experienced its first leak. According to reports from South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, an 84-gallon spill occurred in the small town of Tulare at a pump station. Local authorities contained the spill before it could contaminate public drinking water, but declined to fine Energy Transfer Partners, the owner of the pipeline, for this potentially hazardous leak. It is believed a mechanical failure at the pump station was responsible for the spill.

Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist with the agency, claimed that the spill was “treated like any other 84-gallon spill”, suggesting that the department regards such leaks as routine. Indeed, both environmentalists and tribal chair members representing the Standing Rock Sioux, who were involved in the heated disputes against the pipeline’s construction last year, have stated that leaks are inevitable and will occur along the pipeline’s 1,172-mile length. However, due to the grave risk such leaks could pose without early intervention, they must be treated seriously and the company owning the pipeline must be held accountable.

Sign this petition to urge South Dakota’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to take this matter more seriously and fine Energy Transfer Partners for cleanup efforts and to do so for any future spills should they occur.


Dear Secretary Pirner,

I am writing to urge you not to dismiss the oil spill which occurred last month along the Dakota Access Pipeline as a routine incident. While the spill in question may not have resulted in any harm, there is no guarantee that future spills or leaks will be so easily contained.

Energy Transfer Partners must be fined for any cleanup efforts and held accountable for any mechanical failures that result in leaks, such as the one suspected in this recent incident. To do otherwise sends a message to this company that leaks are not considered significant and may result in oversight which could lead to future catastrophe.

On behalf of the environment and the millions of people who could be affected by a spill anywhere along the pipeline’s length, I urge you to hold Energy Transfer Partners responsible both for this leak and for any future incidents.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Carl Wycoff

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  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    Hold Energy Transfer Partners Accountable for Pipeline Spill NOW!!! Environment and Animal Welfare Over Profits!!

  2. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    native americans over profit!

  3. All big businesses such as oil and gas and mining companies should be forced to sign contracts in which they will be held FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for ALL damage of ALL types that they cause. Since they are never willing to clean up or fix damage themselves, they should be forced through contracts.

  4. The decision to charge or not, defines the thinking and caring of the US government. Voters, make wise choices.

  5. Even if they are fined, they can tie it up in court for decades. I still remember Exxon-Mobil that still has not paid for clean up from it’s catastrophic spill. Oil and gas companies keep airing ads showing how environmentally friendly they are, how responsible, how they create new jobs and new sources of energy. They don’t talk about the detrimental effects to the environment and people nearby. I believe the government ends up paying for a portion of the cleanup through disaster relief. I may be wrong, but it is a travesty the taxpayers have to clean up messes by multi-billion dollar corporations. Particularly when we struggled to block them.

  6. It’s never “if” but it’s ALWAYS “when” a spill occurs with a pipeline. Then the company responsible will get a tax break because of the cleanup that’s no where near effective and WE end up paying for the rest of a cleanup that still isn’t effective all the while people are poisoned. Yep, pipelines are a “good” idea!

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