Dakota Access Pipeline to Continue Operation

August 13, 2020
Close up of pipeline.

A federal appeals court reversed a judge’s order that shut down the Dakota Access pipeline pending a full environmental review. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with pipeline owner Energy Transfer to keep the oil flowing, saying a lower-court judge “did not make the findings necessary for injunctive relief.”

The court threw out the shutdown order issued last month by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, saying that he “did not make the findings necessary” to justify his ruling. Boasberg ordered that the pipeline be emptied of oil within 30 days, prompting a swift appeal by pipeline developer Energy Transfer and the Corps, which permitted the line. 

However, the appellate court declined to grant Energy Transfer’s motion to block the review, saying the company had “failed to make a strong showing of likely success.” 

Boasberg invalidated the permit after he concluded that the Corps’ past environmental review of the pipeline was inadequate. He ordered a lengthy study known as an Environmental Impact Statement. Various aspects of the ruling drew praise from either side of the pipeline fight, according to the Bismarck Tribune.