One of the last remaining campsites devoted to protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is getting pounded by a Christmas blizzard.
The National Weather Service reported Saturday that a massive blizzard is expected to dump more than a foot of snow on the protester’s encampment. The storm could bring with it 45 to 55 mph winds throughout Monday.
North Dakota’s oppressive winter weather appears to be wearing on those protesting the $3.8 billion pipeline project.
Activists and American Indians hunkered down in the area scattered earlier this month after a blizzard pelted their campsites with a half-foot of snow.
Law enforcement officials believe as few as 500 camp occupants remain in the area — which is down from the 10,000 anti-DAPL activists in the area at the height of the protests.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as various anti-fossil fuel activist, are still trying to keep the campsite up and running even after the Army Corps of Engineers rejected a previously approved easement completing the project.
DAPL is losing $20 million every day the project is delayed, according to one of the attorneys representing Dakota Access. A court review of the pipeline is expected to be completed by late February.
Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the line, will bleed more than $1 billion in lost profit by the time the review process is wrapped up if the attorney’s estimate is extrapolated over a three-month period.
The deluge of snow could be heaven-sent for ETP and an anvil around the collective necks of those protesting the pipeline. An emptied campsite would release at least some of the pressure mounting on Dakota Access.
Standing Rock chairman Dave Archambault II did not respond to reporter requests for comment about the blizzard’s effect on the campsites.
Activists are worried the pipeline could come online after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office in January.
The fate of the nearly 1,200-mile-long line, which is expected to bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from western North Dakota to southern Illinois, will likely fall into the hands of Trump, who has championed the pipeline in the past.
The completed project will create up to 12,000 construction jobs and provide millions in state and local revenue during the construction phase, and an estimated $129 million annually in property and income taxes, according to the Army Corps.
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