Lake Sakakawea Pipeline Project Angers Tribal Leaders

BEULAH – Legal disputes have raised awareness for another pipeline construction project in Western North Dakota, this time pitting the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations against Paradigm Energy Partners, who are installing two pipelines for the Sacagawea Pipeline Company.

Paradigm is constructing oil, as well as natural gas pipelines under Lake Sakakawea, which Tribal leaders say they never gave permission for. The Tribal Business Council voted last month to issue a cease and desist order to halt all construction at the site, for both pipelines which will reach from McKenzie to Mountrail counties.

However, Paradigm filed a federal lawsuit against Tribal Chairman Mark Fox and Tribal Police Chief Nelson Hart, on the grounds that they had no authority to halt construction. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted a temporary restraining order, authorizing construction to continue, with both parties returning to court over the dispute.

This incident happens concurrently as another Tribe protests the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,100-mile pipeline, which is nearly halfway complete on a section that would sink beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Meanwhile, the Paradigm project has additional issues to contend with, as the Public Service Commission, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, investigate claims by a former worker, who claims contractor, Boyd & Company, failed to properly inspect the pipeline.

“Sacagawea Pipeline Company stands behind our contractors and third-party inspectors and remains fully committed to preserving the environment and ecological safety of Lake Sakakawea and all areas where we operate,” Paradigm said in a statement.

The investigation and court battle continues, as partners in the project announced that the Lake Sakakawea pipeline should be operational by the end of September.

[Filed by Piper Combs|The Dakota Dispatch]

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