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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has filed a notice of appeal at an appeals court against a district court decision to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline, Reuters reports.
A district judge ruled that the Dakota Access is to be empties within 30 days in what was seen as a big win for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has been fighting the pipeline for years. The court ruling was motivated by the need for another environmental review of the infrastructure.
The Dakota Access was conceived as a channel to transport shale oil from the Bakken play in North Dakota to Illinois. The $3.8-billion project, whose initial capacity was 570,000 bpd, attracted a lot of opposition, which escalated to massive protests a few years ago. It is the biggest outlet for crude oil produced in the Bakken.
According to District Judge James Boasberg, the Army Corps of Engineers had violated environmental laws by granting Energy Transfer a permit to build the pipeline under Lake Oahe without an adequate environmental impact statement.
North Dakota’s Attorney General’s office, however, has supported the project.
“A shutdown will force North Dakota’s oil industry to shut in massive amounts of oil product, and shift the remainder of production to more expensive and uncertain modes of transportation,” it said in a statement defending the pipeline.
Energy Transfer said it will not start emptying the pipeline.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “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 recently raised hackles among its own clients with the Dakota Access pipeline. The company has plans to expand its capacity to 1.1 million bpd and tried to force users to stick to their capacity commitments by declaring force majeure on the pipeline.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com