The U-S Supreme Court has refused to consider an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that a more extensive environmental review must be done on the Dakota Access Pipeline. The move means the review will continue.
Texas-based Energy Partners, the company that owns the pipeline, appealed a lower court ruling that affirmed the need for a more thorough environmental study
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded in 2015 that having the pipeline cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe would have no significant environmental impact and that an extensive environmental study was not required.
The Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes sued, arguing the Corps had violated federal law by not fully studying the potential impact of leaks on the river and the tribes and others who depend on its water for drinking, agriculture, and religious practices.
A federal judge concluded in 2020 that the tribe was right and revoked the project’s permit, ruling the initial environmental analysis of the line was inadequate and ordering a new one.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal doesn’t mean the Dakota Access will be closed. The outcome of the new environmental review, which the agency began in September 2020, will determine whether the Corps reissues the permit.
Energy Transfer told the high court last year that the district court ruling created uncertainty and put the pipeline “at a significant risk of being shut down, which would precipitate serious economic and environmental consequences.”
The Lake Oahe crossing is about 2 miles of the nearly 1,800-mile Dakota Access route as it carries some 200-million barrels of crude oil from wells in North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.