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Dakota Access pipeline said to start pumping crude in June

Lela Wulsin of Seattle  protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline Wednesday at City Hall in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Lela Wulsin of Seattle protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline Wednesday at City Hall in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access crude oil pipeline may start operating June 1, assuming no new obstacles prevent it, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline, will begin filling it with oil around Feb. 15, barring complaints or legal action to stop it, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public. The company is still awaiting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build the last portion of the 1,172-mile (1,887-kilometer) line.

President Donald J. Trump last month issued a memorandum asking that approval for the project be expedited. The project has been stalled since September, when the Obama administration said it needed to review previous decisions to allow the pipeline. Trump’s decision came after months of heated protest against the project. Environmentalists warn it will endanger water supplies and Native Americans say it will damage culturally significant sites.

Energy Transfer had previously said the project would be in service in the first quarter, which was delayed from its original projection of the fourth quarter of 2016. Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

On Friday, Phillips 66, a stakeholder in Dakota Access, said the project is expected to be operational in the second quarter. The pipeline is more than 95 percent complete, and the timing guidance is pending issuance of the final easement needed from the Army Corps, Phillips 66 said in a statement. The oil refiner has a 25 percent stake in joint ventures to develop Dakota Access and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline projects.

The line started receiving shipments at two North Dakota terminals in January, a person familiar with the pipeline’s operations said last month.

Sunoco Logistics Partners is also a partner in the project. Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Enbridge Energy Partners announced a venture in August that would also take a minority stake in the pipeline.

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