The last time we checked on the Dakota Access Pipeline, recovery crews were digging through mountains of garbage left by protesters and trying to find families for the dogs abandoned at the Standing Rock site by the evicted eco-activists.

President Trump put his pen to work, which moved both the Dakota and Keystone pipelines forward. the US State Department is putting the finishing touches on a permit for Keystone’s international structure.

Meanwhile, South Dakota and Iowa authorities are investigating the vandalism of the almost operational Dakota Access Pipeline.

The next activists who try to burn a hole through the Dakota Access pipeline may find that carbon pollution is the least of their problems.

The $3.8 billion project is expected to begin running oil this week, as authorities investigate two separate incidents of vandalism in Iowa and South Dakota involving holes torched in pipes located at above-ground valve sites.

No oil was flowing through the pipes, but if there had been, the consequences could have been disastrous, said Brigham A. McCown, former acting administrator of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“If they had tried to utilize a torch to burn through the sidewall, they would have likely ignited the oil inside and been killed instantly,” said Mr. McCown, now an infrastructure consultant. “This is a serious safety issue and cannot be justified under any basis. Those responsible should face severe criminal penalties.”

The vandals may not be versed enough in real science to have realized that fuel, oxygen and an ignition source would have completed the fire triangle, leading to instantaneous global warming…for them.

The South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigations indicated it was considering the incident as an act of felony vandalism. Iowa officials were weighing charges of first-degree criminal mischief for anyone they determine was involved in the attack.

Environmental activists who were involved in disrupting some oil pipeline operations in four states last year to protest the construction now claim they aren’t responsible for the recent attacks.

The remarks came in response to allegations that Texas-based Dakota Access developer Energy Transfer Partners made in court documents late Monday. The company said there have been “recent coordinated physical attacks along the pipeline that pose threats to life, physical safety and the environment,” but did not say who was responsible for those alleged attacks.

…Jay O’Hara with the Climate Disobedience Center told the AP that Climate Direct Action wasn’t involved in any attacks against the pipeline, and he wasn’t aware of anyone claiming responsibility.

The pipeline is poised to begin moving oil early next week.

The company is finishing up construction under the Lake Oahe Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota – the last piece of work for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

…Oil already is in parts of the line leading up to the lake. ETP says in court documents it’s likely to put oil under the lake next week.

Spokeswoman Vicki Granado said it would take about three weeks to get the oil to Illinois. At that point the pipeline would be considered fully operational.

The pipelines are will minimize the potential for transportation-related spillage, and their construction will do far more the save the environment than the garbage-infused, “Burning Man” protests and the vandalism.