The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today affirmed the U.S. District Court did not overstep when it vacated the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, agreeing the Army Corps of Engineers’ review of the project did not meet fully meet NEPA standards. However, the Appeals Court reiterated its previous ruling that the District Court wrongly ordered the pipeline to be shut down and emptied of crude oil, thereby allowing it to remain operational as the Corps completes its additional environmental review.
The pipeline was fully permitted, meeting all state and federal regulations, including approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Below is a statement that can be attributed to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition:
“The GAIN Coalition is pleased that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. clearly reiterated its earlier opinion that the Dakota Access Pipeline should be allowed to remain operational while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts additional environmental review on the line. DAPL has safely operated for more than three and a half years, after its developers worked closely with state and federal regulators to meet all permitting requirements.
“As the Corps continues its work, it’s time to take politics out of the process. The Biden Administration has an opportunity to bring sanity and clarity to this discussion by following the Appeals Court’s direction and allowing the regulatory process to move forward – unhindered by political influence. Doing so will go a long way towards ensuring regulatory certainty for those individuals and companies seeking to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.
“Energy Transfer, the pipeline’s developer, followed every rule, engaged in meaningful consultation, and invested nearly $4 billion in this project that helped make America a net energy exporter. While it is disappointing the Court determined the multi-year, extensive environmental assessment was not comprehensive enough, we are confident the Army Corps – if allowed to follow the science – will validate previous findings that Dakota Access presents no significant impact or risk.
“We look forward to DAPL’s continued contributions to strengthening our nation’s economy, energy security, and national security interests.”