The Dakota Access oil pipeline again staved off what would have been an unprecedented shutdown, with judges ruling that the Trump administration has to decide whether the conduit can operate while a more robust review is done.
Judges said Wednesday that they expect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify in front of a federal district court whether the agency thinks the pipeline must shut after a key permit was vacated in July. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit buys pipeline operator
“Despite the mixed decision from the circuit court, the impact is wholly positive for the pipeline,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst
Although Energy Transfer units rose on the initial decision Wednesday, they tumbled 7.6% on Thursday in response to the company’s reduction in adjusted earnings guidance for the year. General Counsel
“We believe our legal positions are strong, and we are confident that the pipeline will continue to operate,” Mason said.
The Army Corps is likely to allow the pipeline to continue operating, according to
“The bad news for the pipeline is that, if the district court orders a shutdown after considering the injunction standard, the same panel of three judges will hear a new request for a stay,” Coleman said. So far, they seem inclined to agree with the district court on the need for more environmental review, he said.
The oil industry has been watching the Dakota Access case with bated breath. Pipeline operators and developers are increasingly losing legal battles over key permits, but the Dakota Access order marked the first time a federal court told a major crude pipeline to shut due to violations of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Dakota Access has been in service for three years after drawing months of on-the-ground protests during its construction near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The district court’s July decision said the Army Corps of Engineers violated NEPA when it approved a key permit for the pipeline, ordering the project to shut down while the agency conducts a more robust review.
Energy Transfer, led by billionaire
The company had also sought a more permanent stay, which the appeals court declined to grant on Wednesday.
“It’s interesting what the court did here,” said Earthjustice lawyer
(Updates with Energy Transfer units in fourth paragraph)
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