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$3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline begins service

Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company own the Bakken Pipeline, which is a 1,872-mile system that transports domestically produced crude oil from the Bakken/Three Forks productions areas in North Dakota to a storage and terminalling hub outside Patoka, Illinois, and/or down to additional terminals in Nederland, Texas.

ETP maintains it didn't intentionally do anything wrong in either case.

Regulators decided during a Wednesday meeting to hold hearings in either July or August. A decision on fines would come sometime after that.

"I'm pretty eager to wrap this us", Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said. But President Trump approved the easement weeks after taking office, spurring Energy Transfer to quickly resume construction.Since then, momentum has swung in the pipeline developer's favor.The start of operations does not mark the end of the legal battle, Archambault said.

The project caught global attention in the latter half of 2016 due to large protests against it by American Indian and environmental activists at a spot near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the North Dakota lake.

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More oil than originally expected was set to begin flowing Thursday in the Dakota Access pipeline, according to a press release from Energy Transfer Partners.

"This pipeline became operational today, yet it has already leaked at least three times", said Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux chairman.

The $3.7 billion project, which stretches across four states, drew fierce resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota, its allies and environmentalists.

In addition, a third-party inspector identified 83 sites along the 380-mile pipeline corridor in North Dakota where trees or shrubs might have been cleared in violation of the commission's orders.

Per their agreement to build the pipeline, ETP agreed to plant two trees for every one workers removed, which amounts to almost 95,000 plants.

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