We have certain non-cancelable leases for property and equipment, which require fixed monthly rental payments and expire at various dates through 2034. The table below reflects rental expense under these operating leases included in operating expenses in the accompanying statements of operations, which include contingent rentals, and rental expense recovered through related sublease rental income:
Three Months Ended
Six Months Ended
Our joint venture agreements require that we fund our proportionate share of capital contributions to our unconsolidated affiliates. Such contributions will depend upon our unconsolidated affiliates’ capital requirements, such as for funding capital projects or repayment of long-term obligations.
Litigation and Contingencies
We may, from time to time, be involved in litigation and claims arising out of our operations in the normal course of business. Natural gas and crude oil are flammable and combustible. Serious personal injury and significant property damage can arise in connection with their transportation, storage or use. In the ordinary course of business, we are sometimes threatened with or named as a defendant in various lawsuits seeking actual and punitive damages for product liability, personal injury and property damage. We maintain liability insurance with insurers in amounts and with coverage and deductibles management believes are reasonable and prudent, and which are generally accepted in the industry. However, there can be no assurance that the levels of insurance protection currently in effect will continue to be available at reasonable prices or that such levels will remain adequate to protect us from material expenses related to product liability, personal injury or property damage in the future.
Dakota Access Pipeline
During the summer of 2016, individuals affiliated with or sympathetic to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (the “SRST”) began to protest the development of the pipeline project. Protesters trespassed on to the construction site, tampered with equipment, and disrupted construction activity at the site. In response to the protests, Dakota Access filed a lawsuit in federal court in North Dakota to restrain protestors from disrupting construction and also requested a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against the Chairman of the SRST and the protestors. The U.S. District Court granted and later dissolved a TRO enjoining protest activity. The protestors moved to dismiss the lawsuit and the Court granted their motion in May 2017.
On July 25, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) issued permits to Dakota Access consistent with environmental and historic preservation statutes for the pipeline to make two crossings of the Missouri River in North Dakota, including a crossing of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. After significant delay, the USACE also issued easements to allow the pipeline to cross land owned by the USACE adjacent to the Missouri River in two locations. Also in July, the SRST filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the USACE that challenged the legality of the permits issued for the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across those waterways and claimed violations of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”). The SRST also sought a preliminary injunction to rescind the USACE permits while the case is pending. Dakota Access intervened in the case. The SRST soon added a request for an emergency TRO to stop construction on the pipeline project. On September 9, 2016, the Court denied SRST’s motion for a preliminary injunction, rendering the TRO request moot.
After the September 9 ruling, the Department of the Army, the DOJ, and the Department of the Interior released a joint statement that the USACE would not grant the easement for the land adjacent to Lake Oahe until the Army completed a review to determine whether it was necessary to reconsider the USACE’s decision under various federal statutes relevant to the pipeline approval.
The SRST appealed the denial of the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and filed an emergency motion in the U.S. District Court for an injunction pending the appeal, which was denied. The D.C. Circuit then denied the SRST’s application for an injunction pending appeal and later dismissed SRST’s appeal of the order denying the preliminary injunction motion. The SRST filed an amended complaint and added claims based on treaties between the tribes and the United States and statutes governing the use of government property.
In December 2016, the Department of the Army announced that, although its prior actions complied with the law, it intended to conduct further environmental review of the crossing at Lake Oahe. In February 2017, in response to a presidential memorandum, the Department of the Army decided that no further environmental review was necessary and delivered an