The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will keep running, at least until April 19, after federal judge allowed it to run without a permit on Friday. The decision frustrates environmental activists and keeps a years-long legal battle over the project.
Firstly, as we reported previously, DAPL’s fate was to be decided on Friday, in a court hearing; where federal regulators would decide if the project continue, while the Joe Biden administration completed a full and thorough environmental review.
Secondly, the Energy Transfer, DAPL, project intends to expand its capacity to further 750,000 barrels a day, from current 570,000. However, the expansion has been on the middle of a legal battle, as several Native American tribes say it could contaminate drinking water supplies.
Thirdly, last year, Native tribes led by the Standing Rock Sioux won a victory; when a federal Judge of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia rejected a federal permit which would allow the project to run under the Lake Oahe, and ordered a deeper environmental review.
Moreover, the U.S. Corps could have shut the project during the review process; however, the deferred to the court on Friday, when judge James Boasberg gave DAPL until April 19 to make its case for keeping the project running; before he issues a ruling.
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Environmental activists and Native Tribes will continue to battle DAPL
In addition, environmental activists, and native American tribes said the decision violated their rights. “It’s the continuation of a terrible history that we believed was going to change.” Said Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux.
In fact, it was Donald Trump who fast-tracked the permitting process and allowed the line to enter service; despite opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes. However, as Joe Biden took the presidency, he axed important projects like Keystone XL; setting a precedent for projects like this, to be shut also.
Nevertheless, Hasselman said at a press conference that he and the Standing Rock Sioux would continue to appeal to the Army Corps; to the court to order the line shut while an environmental impact statement (EIS) is produced. The lawyer said he expects a decision by the court on the tribes’ request for a shutdown order sometime in May.
On the other hand, Corps attorney, Ben Schiffman, said the Corps have until March 2022 to produce the EIS. “The Corps is proceeding with the EIS process … but at this time has not taken any additional action.”