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The Dakota Access Pipeline has started shipping oil

The pipeline was the scene of a monthslong protest amid concerns from Native American tribes.
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The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has started transporting oil, after construction was completed last month following months of protests.

The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, says on the pipeline's website that service starts on Thursday, as it sets about fulfilling "committed transportation service agreements" with shippers.

The $3.8 billion pipeline will take oil from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, before eventually reaching distribution centers in Illinois.

Completion of the line was delayed for months after protesters started blocking construction crews in August of last year. There are concerns from the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the passage of the line beneath Lake Oahe puts their water supply at risk in the event of a leak.

The protest camp was removed this past February, allowing the construction to resume.

Possible rule violations

But according to the Associated Press, Energy Transfer Partners has come under scrutiny from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, which will be investigating whether it violated state rules during the construction.

The commission is probing whether the company removed too many trees and shrubs along the route, and whether it improperly reported the discovery of Native American artifacts, the Dallas News reports.

The company says it didn't intentionally do anything wrong in either case. If the commission finds differently, Energy Transfer Partners could be fined tens of thousands of dollars.

WDAZ also reported on Wednesday recent leak documents revealed a global security firm with ties to the government carried out "extensive surveillance and infiltrated activist groups" during the NoDAPL protests.

Operatives are alleged to have identified “persons of interest” among the protesters and compiled databases, including identifying information such as photographs and license plates.

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