Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders calls for a full stop to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Industry leaders said moving forward with the Dakota Access pipeline is central to keeping the U.S. shale oil sector a strong component of the national economy.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was on hand for demonstrations in Washington, D.C., against the Dakota Access pipeline.
"We cannot allow our drinking water to be poisoned so a handful of fossil fuel companies can make more in profits," he said in an emailed statement. "This pipeline must be stopped."
Federal government agencies intervened last week after a district court ruled in favor of the pipeline construction, calling for a temporary halt to construction on parts of the pipeline until the Army Corps of Engineers can determine a full range of environmental and other federal policies.
Jack Gerard, the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said the pipeline should move forward for the sake of the nation's oil economy.
"Infrastructure plays a critical role in maintaining and growing America's energy renaissance and it's important that our energy infrastructure is able to meet the needs of consumers and our growing economy," he said in a written statement.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said the pipeline threatens sacred tribal lands and the water supply for residents in the region. Concerns about water supplies in the region also prompted reconsideration for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, before the White House moved against the project on broader environmental grounds.
The partnership behind the Dakota pipeline said it's needed to accommodate and distribute the amount of crude oil being produced from the Bakken shale oil basin in North Dakota.
The state government said oil production in June, the last full month for which it has data, was around 1.02 million barrels per day, down 16 percent from the peak rate in December 2014.
"Crude oil take away capacity remains dependent on rail deliveries to coastal refineries to remain adequate," it said.