SDSA Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Environmental Impact
Mr. Cossette, the South Dakota Soybean Association respectfully requests that in the FEIS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should fully consider the harms to the South Dakota Soybean farm families that would be caused by Alternatives 1, 2, and 5 and to acknowledge the benefits that continued operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Alternatives 3 or 4 would provide to all the people of South Dakota.
South Dakota Soybean farmers produce millions of bushels annually, a majority of which is transported by rail. If the Corps selects Alternatives 1, 2 or 5, greater volumes of oil would be transported by rail, displacing our growers’ products in the process. According to a recent report by noted ag economist Elaine Kub, South Dakota soybean families will suffer approximately $161 million in lost revenue annually as shippers pass freight costs onto growers via lower bid prices and as freight costs increase for certain agricultural products shipped by rail. Increased shipping costs may also lead to lost markets as foreign buyers seek lesser-cost and more timely alternatives to South Dakota soybeans.
South Dakota Soybean growers know this will happen based on experiences in 2013 and 2014 when increased transportation of Bakken crude oil by rail caused extensive congestion on U.S. railways. The costs for freight during that time skyrocketed, a cost that had to be absorbed by growers. The rail congestion eased when the Dakota Access Pipeline came online in 2017.
We also know from our experience, that when soybean growers face rail-car competition and shipping delays, food processors and the communities that they serve are also negatively impacted. If soybean shipments are stranded due to an over-crowded rail system, then shortages of soybean-based products and related price hikes will occur. These shortages or price hikes would impact consumers. These issues are serious, foreseeable harms to South Dakota Soybean growers, and yet the DEIS does not adequately address impacts to ag groups generally and makes no specific mention of negative impacts to South Dakota soybean growers or the agriculture industry.
The FEIS should fully account for and consider these harms in its analysis of Alternatives 1, 2 and 5. We ask the Corps to reissue DAPL’s easement under Alternative 3 or 4, allowing DAPL to continue safely operating as it has for the past six years.
President, South Dakota Soybean Association