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Court Temporarily Halts Shutdown Of Dakota Access Oil Pipeline

A U.S. Appeals Court ruled on Tuesday that the Dakota Access oil pipeline can continue to operate while the court considers whether the pipeline should be shut down as ordered by a lower court’s ruling.  

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the Dakota Access pipeline an administrative stay until it reviews and rules on last week’s order of a federal judge that the 570,000-bpd pipeline must be emptied and shut down by August 5 due to irregularities in the permitting process.  

Last week, a federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline, in operation since 2017, must be emptied and shut down within 30 days, by August 5, until a new comprehensive environmental review is completed.

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia said that the Army Corps of Engineers had violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it gave a permit to the pipeline to build beneath Lake Oahe.

In a statement on the court ruling, Energy Transfer said, “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. 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also filed a notice of appeal at an appeals court against the district court’s decision to shut down Dakota Access.

Commenting on the appeals court ruling from Tuesday, Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said:

“Common sense prevails. The shutdown order was unreasonable and a clear example of judicial overreach. I hope the time will be used to find common ground among litigants.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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