Vandal damages Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa

With the Dakota Access Pipeline almost ready to start operation, the company that runs it says the 1,172-mile long oil pipe has been vandalized in several places.

In South Dakota, authorities received a report on March 17 that someone burned a hole through an above-ground section of an oil pipeline at a valve site just south of Sioux Falls, according to Chief Deputy Chad Brown of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

The $3.8B pipeline runs 1,200 miles through North and South Dakota, Iowa and IL, and experts say Dakota Access and the rest of the almost 3M miles of pipeline that deliver oil and gas in the USA are vulnerable to acts of sabotage. A similar incident was discovered Friday in southeastern South Dakota.

State officials in North Dakota and IL say they aren't immediately aware of any incidents in their states.

Jay O'Hara with the Climate Disobedience Center told the AP that Climate Direct Action wasn't involved, and he wasn't aware of anyone claiming responsibility.

In October, Climate Direct Action activists tried to shut valves on pipelines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Washington to show support for Dakota Access opponents.

Though there was no oil in the pipeline, he said it was pressurized with nitrogen gas.

The sheriff said it appears someone maneuvered under the fence and used a blowtorch to cut a hole in a relief check valve sometime between March 3 and March 13.

The tribes have challenged an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg not to stop final construction of the pipeline, and they wanted the appeals court to halt any oil flow until that's resolved.

The 1,172-mile pipeline also crosses South Dakota, Iowa and IL. The company has said the pipeline will be safe.

The highway, which closed in late October following Dakota Access Pipeline protests, has been reopening in phases.

Company spokeswoman Vicki Granado and company attorney William Scherman didn't immediately respond to requests Tuesday from The Associated Press for more details.

A spokesman for the company and the Morton County Sheriff's Department declined to comment.

The battle was lost, but apparently the war continues on for water protectors who are still trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

  • Leroy Wright