Court rules Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down because of faulty environmental review

The Dakota Access Pipeline in Central Iowa. (Carl Wycoff/Wikimedia Commons)

The Lead 

A Washington, D.C. district judge ruled on Monday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must be shut down, maintaining that further environmental review must be carried out.

The 24-page order by Justice James E. Boasberg says the pipeline must shut down operations within 30 days. Boasberg added that he was “mindful of the disruption” halting the pipeline will cause.

Back in April, Boasberg decided that a more extensive review of the project was necessary due to the unsatisfactory nature of the review conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The pipeline has been operational for over three years.

“Yet, given the seriousness of the Corps’ NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates, the Court is forced to conclude that the flow of oil must cease,” the order reads.

The project has faced serious criticism from many, including the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, who protested the pipeline back in 2016 and 2017.

“This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning,” Chairman of Standing Rock Mike Faith wrote in a statement, which the Associated Press reported.

Energy Transfer, the Texas company that owns the pipeline, said in a statement that it will fight the court’s decision.

In Canada

A Global Energy Monitor report published yesterday said that Warren Buffett’s decision to withdraw from an energy project developing an LNG export terminal in Quebec highlights the increasing uncertainty that these projects are facing globally. Back in March, Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway pulled a $4-billion planned investment that was supposed to go towards an LNG export terminal located in Saguenay, Que.

“While many projects face opposition from local communities, the case of the Energie Saguenay LNG Terminal in Quebec shows the potential for a local protest to galvanize a national movement,” reads the GEM report, according to The Canadian Press.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer did not violate any laws when he hired Steve Allan to carry out a public inquiry into whether anti-oil advocacy in Canada was being funded by foreign money, according to Alberta’s ethics commissioner.

“They were simply acquaintances in Calgary who occasionally communicated about issues such as economic strategy and flood mitigation,” wrote commissioner Marguerite Trussler in a report published yesterday.

This accusation stemmed from the fact that Allan previously had an office in Schweitzer’s old law firm based in Calgary, creating a potential conflict of interest.

The Canadian Press has more details.

The Keystone XL pipeline faces another complication following a decision made by the U.S Supreme Court yesterday, which maintained a ruling by a lower court. The decision blocks an environmental permit that is crucial to the development of the pipeline across U.S. waterways. The Associated Press reports.


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