The permitting process has begun for a massive multistate pipeline meant to carry crude from the Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota to Illinois, cutting through Eastern South Dakota along the way.

The Dakota Access Pipeline doesn’t carry the controversial baggage and national recognition of the Keystone XL Pipeline, but its intended path through heavily-populated eastern South Dakota and its connection to the oil trade promise to ignite similar debate.

Supporters say the pipeline is a better way to move Bakken crude than rail cars, which could be used to move agricultural products. Some have concerns about the impact on development and the environment.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission voted to accept an application from Dakota Access on Tuesday, marking one of the first steps toward earning a construction permit.

The pipeline would carry as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day through 1,110 miles of underground pipe, 272 miles of which cut diagonally through southeast South Dakota.

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