August 10, 2020 at 4:16 am

U.S. court allows Dakota Access oil pipeline to stay open, but permit status unclear

By Meeta Ramnani

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) does not have to be shut and drained per a lower court order, but a legal battle continued over the permit that allowed the line to be finished.

U.S. regulatory officials may still need to issue another environmental assessment for DAPL before deciding if the 570,000-barrel-per-day oil pipeline can keep operating, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said.

In July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated federal environmental law when it granted an easement to Energy Transfer LP to construct and operate a portion of the pipeline beneath South Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a crucial drinking-water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

That judge said DAPL, controlled by Energy Transfer, would have to shut by Aug. 5. The appeals court decision allows the pipeline to remain running. The appeal will continue but a separate panel of judges will preside over it, lawyers said.

“We will need to run the course with this litigation,” Energy Transfer’s chief legal counsel Tom Mason said on a company earnings call. “We believe our legal positions are strong, and we are confident that the pipeline will continue to operate.”

The district court must make additional findings before the pipeline can be shut, said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux.

“The bottom line is that the fight continues. We’re right on the law and we’re not giving up until this pipeline is shut down,” Hasselman said.

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Meeta Ramnani

Meeta develops credible content about various markets based on deep research, opinions from experts and inputs from industry leaders. As the managing editor, she assures that every piece of news and article adds to the knowledge of decision makers. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries experience from mainstream print media including The Times Group and Sakal Media Group.

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