Company: Oil in pipeline under Missouri River reservoir

On March 27, the water protectors' plea took its greatest hit yet when news broke that the Dakota Access Pipeline will be in service soon, and is now filled with oil.

A crude oil spill in western North Dakota in December is now believed to be about three times bigger than originally estimated, pipeline owner True Companies said, just days before oil started flowing Tuesday in the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, further validating fears of a similar spill in a water source near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Industry groups say the imminent flow of oil through the pipeline is good news for energy and infrastructure.

There also are hundreds of protest-related cases making their way through the state's court system. Those in favor of the pipeline regard this development as significant.

ETP maintains the pipeline is safe and disputes the tribes' claims.

DAPL is running under a Missouri River reservoir, which has sparked outrage among the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters who worry about the safety of their water supply. The area is home to sacred sites for the tribe.

January 18, 2017 — The Army Corps launches a full environmental study of the pipeline's disputed Lake Oahe crossing that could take up to two years to complete.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe along with three other Sioux tribes is now fighting the pipeline in U.S. District Court.

January 24 — President Donald Trump signs executive actions to advance the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

February 22-23 — Authorities clear out the last remaining holdouts in the main protest camps in southern North Dakota in advance of spring flooding season. Authorities in South Dakota and Iowa confirmed that someone apparently used a torch to burn a hole through empty sections of the pipeline at above ground shut-off valve sites.

North Dakota is the second-biggest oil producer in the USA, after Texas. The pipeline is projected to cost $3.8 billion and carry half a million barrels of oil daily.

With daily production of about 1 million barrels a day, North Dakota together with Texas and it's 3.5 million barrels per day make up about half of USA crude oil output, according to energy department figures.

  • Anthony Vega