Recall: Dakota Access Pipeline

Court victory for environmentalists as shutdown ordered by 8/5; Energy Transfer to appeal

You might remember us discussing pipeline protests in this newsletter—if you have, thanks for being with us for three-plus years. A North Dakota judge Monday ordered the shutdown of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline due to environmental issues violated by the executive branch, three years after various Native American nations banded together for the Standing Rock protests against the site.

The DAP, along with its close cousin, the Keystone XL pipeline, were early Trump administration approvals that signaled support of the oil & gas industries while dealing a blow to renewable energy advocates. Not surprisingly, the latter is also being given a second look and likely to face shutdown.

A federal judge ruled the Trump administration violated federal law when it approved the pipeline without doing a full environmental study. The shutdown—aka emptying all oil from the line—is ordered by August 5, and Energy Transfer, the Texas company that owns the pipeline, said it would fight the ruling in a July 6 press release:

“We believe that the ruling issued this morning from Judge Boasberg is not supported by the law or the facts of the case. Furthermore, we believe that Judge Boasberg has exceeded his authority in ordering the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been safely operating for more than three years,” Energy Transfer’s statement reads. “We will be immediately pursuing all available legal and administrative processes and are confident that once the law and full record are fully considered Dakota Access Pipeline will not be shut down and that oil will continue to flow.”

The company also commented on the role of the Army Corps of Engineers—an important facet of the entire saga. The USACE was delegated to perform the environmental impact study by the federal government back in 2017.

“We intend to immediately file a motion to stay this decision and if not granted, to pursue a stay and expedited appeal with the Court of Appeals. We also believe that the Army Corps of Engineers has the ultimate jurisdiction over this matter, pursuant to its regulations governing Corps property.”

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