Addressing Misconceptions About The Dakota Access Pipeline

Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions and falsities regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline that have been perpetuated by media outlets, bloggers, and social media accounts. Here are the facts:

  • The Dakota Access Pipeline has not impacted groundwater in any of the four states through which it passes since going into service in June of 2017.
  • The pipeline does not encroach or cross any land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline is entirely underground and crosses under Lake Oahe at a minimum depth of 95 feet below the bottom of the riverbed.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline does not encroach on water supply; the Standing Rock Sioux’s water intake has been moved to a location about 50 miles away from the pipeline.
  • In August of 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed more than a year of additional study of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, saying the work substantiated its earlier determination that the pipeline poses no significant environmental threats.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline is one of the most technologically advanced and safest pipelines ever built. It surpasses federal safety requirements.

Notably, by contrast, rail cars transporting crude oil from wells owned by Native American Tribes currently cross the Standing Rock Sioux reservation without objection.

Another pipeline has operated beneath Lake Oahe for more than 35 years.




Helpful Resources

Here are some helpful links that provide further detail and background information that have been missing from the conversation:



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Key Facts

  • The Dakota Access Pipeline does not enter or cross the Standing Rock reservation.
  • The entire Dakota Access Pipeline is buried underground.
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline is not a threat to the Tribe’s water supply or cultural sites.
  • Eight other pipelines cross Lake Oahe, including one that has safely operated for more than 30 years.
  • The site where the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses the Missouri River is 70 miles from the new water supply inlet for the Standing Rock Sioux.
  • The Dakota Access is one of the most technologically advanced and safest pipelines ever built. It is entirely underground and exceeds federal safety requirements.
DAPL Facts You Should Know

The Dakota Access pipeline is not built on any Native American reservation.

99.98% of the pipeline is installed on privately owned property in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The Dakota Access Pipeline does not enter the Standing Rock Sioux reservation at any point. The only point at which the pipeline passes through public property is a small stretch at Lake Oahe in North Dakota owned by the federal government.


The area in question at Lake Oahe has held another pipeline for over 30 years.

DAPL follows the same route in this area as the Northern Border Pipeline, which has operated beneath Lake Oahe since 1982. Eight other pipelines also run below Lake Oahe. No part of the pipeline comes in contact with water from the Missouri River or Lake Oahe.


The builders of the Dakota Access pipeline adhered to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was approved by regulatory agencies in all four states where the pipeline operates and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. All told, more than 1,000 certificates, permits and approvals were granted for the pipeline – that’s about one permit or approval for every mile of pipeline.


Most of the protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline are not Standing Rock Sioux.

The vast majority of the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline – and the most vocal – came not from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, but from several well-funded activist groups that are opposed to all use of fossil fuel and who ignore the safety and benefits of the pipeline in order to further their membership and fund-raising efforts.


Tribes were consulted hundreds of times while DAPL route was planned

In developing the route, the United States Army Corps of Engineers had hundreds of contacts with dozens of tribes while the Dakota Access project was reviewed. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps reached out to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe nearly a dozen times to discuss archaeological and other surveys conducted before finalizing the Dakota. Learn more in the helpful link above titled “Memorandum Opinion”.


No Native American artifacts were disturbed during construction.

In a memo, dated September 22, 2016, Paul R. Picha, the Chief Archaeologist of the State Historical Society of North Dakota wrote: In conclusion, the cultural resources inventory and inspection conducted and reported herein yielded no evidence of infractions to or violations of North Dakota Century Code § 23..06-27 with respect to disturbance of human remains.


The source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux is not near the Dakota Access Pipeline.

At no point does the Dakota Access Pipeline pass through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, nor does it impact the Tribe’s water supply. The water inlet for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will be 70 miles away by early 2017, when the tribe’s water intake moves to South Dakota. Share on FacebookShare on Twitter Click the


The Dakota Access Pipeline is an underground pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is an entirely underground pipeline. Only where there are pump stations or valves stations is there any portion of the pipeline above ground. The pipeline is buried 4 feet deep in most areas and in all agricultural lands, 18 inches deeper than required by law. [Note: DOT Part 195.248 requires 30 inches of cover in agricultural lands. 36 inches of cover is required in all industrial, commercial and residential areas.]


The protests cost the state of North Dakota a lot of resources and money.

Protesters provoked multiple dangerous and criminal confrontations with law enforcement and caused significant damage to property. Additional police were brought in from all over the country to help during the protests. North Dakota's congressional delegation has asked the federal government for $38 million to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Approximately 21.48 million pounds of trash, debris and waste was ultimately removed from the protest site at Lake Oahe, costing over $1 million in clean up and causing significant concern for the health of the lake. In 2017, Energy Transfer gifted the state of North Dakota $15 million to help cover costs.