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Judge allows Dakota Access Pipeline to keep operating – 5/22/2021

The Dakota Access Pipeline can keep operating while a federal agency conducts an environmental review that will determine whether it reissues a permit for the line's Missouri River crossing, a judge has ruled.

The decision by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg comes as a relief for Energy Transfer, but it's a setback for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its five-year legal challenge against the pipeline.

Standing Rock and other Sioux tribes fighting the pipeline over fears of pollution needed to demonstrate a "likelihood of irreparable injury" from the pipeline's continued operation to warrant a shutdown, but they failed to do so, Boasberg concluded.

"The Court acknowledges the Tribes' plight, as well as their understandable frustration with a political process in which they all too often seem to come up just short," he wrote.

Boasberg previously ordered the pipeline to stop pumping oil when he revoked the permit last summer after concluding that the Corps had not adequately backed up its permitting decisions. But an appeals court ruled he had not justified the shutdown decision. The appeals court then kicked the matter back to Boasberg for further consideration, prompting Standing Rock to ask for an injunction to force the pipeline to cease operations. Boasberg denied the tribe's request Friday, siding with Energy Transfer, which has fought to keep the line running.

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