North Dakota: Shuttering Dakota Access Pipeline Would Have “Devastating” Impact

The State of North Dakota this week filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit urging the court to halt the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). On July 6, Judge James Boasberg ordered the already operational crude oil pipeline to be shuttered while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes additional environmental review, which may take upwards of a year.

In their brief, the State argued that the shutdown of DAPL will cause “significant and immediate irreparable harm.” The State further expands on this harm, writing:

“A shutdown will force North Dakota’s oil industry to shut in massive amounts of oil production, and shift the remainder of production to more expensive and uncertain modes of transportation. This, in turn will significantly impact commercial activity, leading to billions of dollars in economic loss to the industry and thousands of unemployed workers. And it will have an immediate effect on State tax and royalty revenue, causing billions in budget shortfalls that cannot be addressed without significant budget cuts, endangering critical State programs.”

The State also points out that these significant “harms far outweigh the speculative, extremely unlikely harm that Appellees cited and on which the district court relied” This ruling presents significant challenges to thousands of North Dakotans as the brief also points out that the “district court simply lumped the consequences to North Dakota, its citizens, and its industry with the disruptive consequences to Dakota Access specifically.” The State succinctly argues:

“Shutting down DAPL will seriously disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands who had nothing to do with the Corps decision that the district court criticized.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also filed an appeal of Boasberg’s decision. Revoking permits for a pipeline that passed through the rigorous permitting and approval process with both state and federal regulators, and subsequently has operated safely for three years, sets a dangerous precedent that will have infrastructure developers thinking twice before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed projects.

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