Lessons in Regulatory Exposure from Dakota Access

In the fast-paced world of U.S. infrastructure projects, it’s often tempting to employ a small team of professionals who can quickly get your project approved for construction. Unfortunately, especially when such a team glosses over issues that should be of concern or attempts to cut corners during the regulatory process, this can lead to costly exposure to regulatory penalties or project delays due to after-the-fact community and government interventions.

In my professional life, I have worked on several highway and pipeline projects that had cultural, environmental or economic justice concerns, but we were able to navigate that terrain while involving the community every step of the way and successfully completed our projects and met our deadlines because we followed the process and gave ourselves enough preparation time in advance to ensure that everything progressed smoothly.

The North Dakota access spectacle should have never happened, and had the Section 106 process been followed properly, a few thousand dollars in additional costs might have been incurred up-front performing the full screening and community involvement process; however, costly legal fees and project construction delays could have been avoided.

Understanding the Dakota Access Controversy

Section 106 Overview

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