Anti-pipeline protesters at the Standing Rock campgrounds are shifting their attention to January 1, when the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline had promised shippers to finish construction, potentially jeopardizing deals should they not meet that deadline.
Shippers could legally terminate their contracts if the pipeline is not completed by 2017, which could “effectively result in project cancellation,” according to court papers from the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, cited by The Guardian. When shippers were contacted by The Guardian, they either did not respond or provided vague answers.
Pipeline spokeswoman Vicki Granado told the Guardian that the actual contractual date is “much later” than January 1, despite conflicting statements.
While the pipeline has nearly completed construction, several parts, such as under Lake Oahe, remain unfinished. Slowing down construction has long been a goal of the anti-pipeline organizers, as has targeting the pipeline’s funders, but now that President-elect Donald Trump is likely to be sympathetic to the pipeline project, the strategy is focusing on the company’s legal binds and profit-making prospects.
According to a study cited by the Guardian conducted by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, every additional month of construction costs Energy Transfers US$4.5 million, and should it pass the January 1 deadline, an extra US$913 million in 2017.