Dakota Access Pipeline decision reversed in Court of Appeals

"Activist courts that seek to shut in our nation’s natural resources and upend regulatory certainty in the energy sector will only succeed in weakening our nation."

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The U.S. District of Columbia Court of Appeals has reversed an order that could have shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline for over a year.

In July, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the pipeline to be shut down by August. However, after a legal battle in the D.C. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who helped plan the pipeline, has been allowed to decide whether oil will keep flowing. 

“The GAIN Coalition commends the U.S. Court of Appeals … for its decision allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to remain operational while the Appeals Court considers the merits of the case,” said Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, which supports the pipeline.

“Activist courts that seek to shut in our nation’s natural resources and upend regulatory certainty in the energy sector will only succeed in weakening our nation and tip the balance of power in favor of foreign adversaries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela,” Stevens said.

On July 6, Boasberg ordered the shutdown, which would have shut down the pipeline for roughly 13 months. In his order, he cited potential harm to the environment, referencing Army Corps engineers who had created an addition to the pipeline without writing an Environment Impact Statement.

“The seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the 13 months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take,” Boasberg said.

The D.C. Court of Appeals has ordered that the EIS permit request for the addition must be vacated. This, in combination with the Army Corps being allowed to let oil run, has caused many to say the pipeline is running illegally.

For pipeline protesters, Boasberg’s order may have only been a temporary win.