An estimated $3 billion in federal funding for the Dakota Access Pipeline will help build and maintain a new waterway that could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing water usage by as much as a third.
The project is a massive, $3 trillion project, with nearly 2,000 miles of pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois.
The pipeline would link Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota with the Gulf of Mexico and Illinois to the Illinois-Iowa border.
But to complete the pipeline, the Army Corps of Engineers had to approve a massive dredging project in North Dakotas waters near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
The project was delayed and ultimately halted because of protests and a pending lawsuit.
In November, the Trump administration said the Army’s review found that the project would not meet its environmental impact assessment requirements.
The agency also determined that the dredging would cause a significant environmental impact, as well as a spill.
The Department of Energy is now conducting a third environmental assessment of the project, which is estimated to cost $3,906 million, according to the Army.
In a report to Congress on Thursday, the agency said it found that “no significant impacts to water quality” would result from the dredged sediment in the North Dakota River, the Standing Wave Dam, or the Lake Oahe Dam.
The agency also said that the cost of dredging in North America would be lower than in other countries, because “there is no significant cost differential between dredging at the existing water table and at the proposed water table in North and South America.”
The environmental assessment process began last year, and the Corps has been reviewing the project’s environmental impacts for more than a year.
In its initial draft, the review said the dredge project would likely cause an average of 3,200 to 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year in North American waterways, and an average 10,500 metric tons a year of methane emissions.
The assessment also found that there were “significant impacts to aquatic species, which are being impacted by sedimentation, erosion and sediment transport.”
The review concluded that “a high degree of certainty” was given for all of the environmental impacts, and “the assessment is based on current and future data, analyses, and a variety of factors.”
The review concluded the project will create jobs, increase the economy and provide tax revenue.
The Army Corps issued a report in March recommending that the U.S. Army Corps Engineer general staff develop an “environmentally sound pipeline project plan.”
That draft, which was reviewed by the Army, included recommendations for the dredger project and other aspects of the pipeline.
The report also called for the construction of a large dredging platform in the vicinity of the Standing Rocks reservation.
The company that operates the pipeline in North Carolina said it expects to complete its dredging by the end of next year.
The company said in a statement that it expects construction of the dredges will begin in 2018 and finish in 2019.