Federal judge will allow Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operating

Dakota Access pipeline
Dakota Access pipeline(KFYR-TV)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 3:00 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Federal Judge James Boasberg has denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline.

This opinion will allow for oil to continue to flow through the pipeline while further environmental review continues, despite earlier rulings from the court that vacated the pipeline’s permit to cross beneath Lake Oahe and ordered its operations to halt until an Environmental Impact Statement could be finished.

However, the pipeline’s operation continued alongside the environmental review work as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducting the review stood silent and decided not to take sides, even when their opinion was requested by the court.

In his opinion, Judge Boasberg writes that he acknowledges the Tribes’ plight, but “judges may travel only as far as the law takes them and no further. Here, the law is clear.”

Judge Boasberg wrote tribes needed to show the pipeline would likely cause irreparable harm from its operation, but they couldn’t do so.

Oil industry leaders are pleased with the decision as the pipeline currently carries 570,000 barrels of North Dakota oil to market per day.

“This pipeline has operated for four years safely and efficiently carrying American oil to American refineries, so it’s a good thing and a good decision,” said North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness.

Lawmakers in energy dependent states also supported the decision and North Dakota’s congressional delegation was no exception.

“This modern piece of infrastructure can keep moving, really, hundreds of thousands of barrels of domestic oil per day instead of having to be moved by more dangerous, expensive and, frankly, higher emission methods like truck or rail,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., echoed similar sentiments.

However, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has been fighting to halt the pipeline’s operation, said they’re disappointed.

“I guess my thoughts and feelings hearing the news, I’m not surprised anymore. An earlier ruling vacated that pipeline’s permit,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith.

Chairman Faith added water is a vital resource that they don’t want contaminated by a potential pipeline spill near Lake Oahe.

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