A federal judge ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline shut down on July 6 for additional environmental review more than three years after it began operations. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer has disputed the ruling and plans to challenge the decision.
Recognizing the disruption it would cause, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., wrote a 24-page order that stated the pipeline must be shut down within 30 days. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer plans to ask a court to halt the order and will seek an expedited appeal, according to a company statement.
Boasberg said in April that a more extensive review was necessary than what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had conducted.
Energy Transfer released a statement that argued Boasberg’s ruling “is not supported by the law or the facts of the case,” adding that the company believes the judge “has exceeded his authority in ordering the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been safely operating for more than three years.”
In the company statement, Energy Transfer outlined plans to pursue “all available legal and administrative processes” to keep oil flowing through the pipeline. The company intends to immediately file a motion to stay Boasberg’s decision. If that is not granted, Energy Transfer will pursue a stay and expedited appeal with the Court of Appeals. The company reiterated that it believes that the Army Corps of Engineers has the “ultimate jurisdiction” over the Dakota Access Pipeline, in accordance with regulations governing Corps property.
Energy Transfer will continue to cooperate with the Corps through their process as company officials believe, as does the Corps per their filing with the District Court, that the proper procedures were followed in granting the original easement and that their work will reconfirm that the easement across federally owned lands in North Dakota was properly granted.
“The economic implications of the Judge’s order are too big to ignore and we will do all we can to ensure its continued operation,” Energy Transfer’s statement reads. “The Dakota Access Pipeline is the only direct pipeline from North Dakota to the distribution hub in Patoka, Illinois, from where this domestically produced Bakken-produced crude oil is transported to refineries throughout the Midwest and the Gulf Coast. Billions of dollars in tax and royalty revenue will be lost by state, local and tribal governments in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. Farmers will suffer as crude transportation will move to rail, displacing corn, wheat and soy crops that would normally be moved to market. Ironically, the counties along these rail lines will face increased environmental risks due to the increased amount of crude oil travelling by rail.”