Press Release

Illinois Dakota Access Pipeline Expansion Approved in Misguided Decision

Jesus Canchola Sanchez, NRDC
jcanchola@nrdc.org, (312) 847-6808

Gabby Brown, Sierra Club
gabby.brown@sierraclub.org, (914) 261-4626

CHICAGO - The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline expansion in the Prairie State today.  

The approval comes after a court decision vacating the previous approval, because the prior approval did not demonstrate how the expansion benefited Illinoisians and the ICC failed to consider the troubling record of the pipeline operator.  

In January 2022, the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court vacated the approval of the pipeline expansion and remanded it back to the ICC. The suit was brought by Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL), the Sierra Club, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and area landowner William Klingele.  

Following are quotes from the litigants: 

“This decision shows the ICC’s continued favoritism toward business interests at the expense of Illinois citizens. It endangers us all,” said Deni Mathews, chairperson of Save Our Illinois Land. “Instead of evaluating the full impact of such projects, we are left to grapple with the continued effect of carbon pollution on our air, water, and soil. Carbon emissions increase while our earth’s climate systems are providing clear evidence that we must stop.”  

"In signing off yet again on this reckless expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline, the ICC is putting critical water resources at even greater risk," said Catherine Collentine, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign. “From the beginning, DAPL has threatened clean drinking water and trampled on Indigenous rights. Allowing even more dirty oil to run through it could be disastrous for communities along its route. We will continue to work to shut down this dangerous oil pipeline altogether." 

“This pipeline expansion threatens our health, our climate, and Illinois’ waters,” said J.C. Kibbey, IL clean energy advocate at NRDC. “There are few, if any, benefits to the people of this state, but the massive risks to Illinois are clear. While we bear the risk, big out-of-state fossil fuel companies reap the profits.” 

Background: 

The Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline expansion would increase the flow of oil in the pipeline from 570,000 barrels to as much as 1.1 million barrels of crude through the 30-inch diameter pipeline daily. The Dakota Access Pipeline is an infamous conduit, which gained national attention in 2016 when the Standing Rock Sioux stood up against the dangerous placement of the pipeline near their reservation, stretches 1,172 miles across four states.   

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About NRDC  

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

About Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL)  

Save Our Illinois Land is a coalition of community members and landowners across the state of Illinois. We are concerned about the impact of pipeline infrastructure on our land, waterways and our fellow citizens. Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL) is focused on stopping the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the state of Illinois and throughout the Great Lakes region of the United States.  

About the Sierra Club  

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org

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