Epping Transmission Co., a subsidiary of Summit Midstream Partners, which is under investigation for one of the biggest leaks in North Dakota’s history, received the support of a labor union Tuesday for building a US$7 million pipeline to connect with the Dakota Access pipeline.
In January 2015, almost three million gallons of potentially toxic saltwater were leaked from a western North Dakota pipeline operated by Summit Midstream Partners into a creek that feeds the Missouri River, the largest spill of its kind in the state's history.
"They are taking a step in the right direction in our eyes," Evan Whiteford, a representative of the Laborers' International Union of North America, testified at a Public Service Commission hearing. "And we look forward to this project being a success."
He had previously criticized the company the last time it was before the commission, according to local media. Epping Transmission wants to a pipeline that would deliver 30,000 barrels of oil per day to the Dakota Access pipeline terminal.
Summit Midstream Partners is under investigation by the North Dakota Industrial Commission which says the 2015 leak continued for more than three months before the spill was discovered. The cleaning up of the massive spill is ongoing.
The company is one of six that have already proposed connecting pipelines to the US$3.8 billion Dakota Access, AP reported last month. Three pipelines have already been constructed, one is being built while construction on the fifth will begin next year.
The Dakota Access construction has been suspended by the federal government amid major national protests against the project that has attracted 300 Native American nations over the past few months.
The project continues to attract leading companies in oil spills. Just a day earlier Sunoco Logistics Partners announced its purchase of its competitor Energy Transfer Partners for about US$20 billion, which is under fire for the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Sunoco has been found to spill crude more often than any company, with more than 200 leaks since 2010, according to a Reuters analysis of government data.