In a significant win not only for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but also for American energy consumers, infrastructure developers, and the American economy and national security, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg on Friday ruled DAPL can continue operating while the Army Corps of Engineers completes an additional environmental review on the project. Friday’s decision comes after nearly four years of DAPL’s safe operation, transporting up to 570,000 bpd of crude oil from Bakken oilfields to an energy hub in Patoka, Illinois – and various legal challenges from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and pipeline opponents.
In his 31-page opinion, Judge Boasberg came to the conclusion that the Tribes have not been able to demonstrate a “likelihood of irreparable injury from the action they seek to enjoin – to wit, the pipeline’s operation.”
GAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens welcomed the court’s decision:
“We applaud the Court’s straightforward, fact-based decision to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operating. Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport petroleum and petroleum products, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is arguably one of the safest and most technologically-advanced pipelines ever constructed.
“We continue to believe that if the government and the courts make their decisions based on the facts – not politics – DAPL will be allowed to remain operational. Today, Judge Boasberg, in his decision, said as much. We hope that the administrative process is allowed to move forward allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to complete its work – free of political pressure.
“We look forward to the completion of the Army Corps’ additional review and are confident the Corps – if allowed to follow facts and science – will validate previous findings that Dakota Access presents no significant impact or risk.”
Friday’s ruling – and the Corps’ approach to DAPL – sends an important message to infrastructure developers about regulatory certainty. It is critical that developers have assurance that if they follow all the rules, receive all necessary permits, invest billions of dollars, and safely operate for years – they won’t have the rug pulled out from under them.
As the Corps’ completes its review, and for decades beyond, DAPL will continue to play a key role in safely and efficiently delivering energy resources to market – bolstering the American economy and our energy and national security.