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US court rules Dakota Access Pipeline can stay open for now

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) does not have to be shut and drained, as per a lower court order on July 6. It’s able to keep operating for now. The three-judge panel said they did not have the “findings necessary” to shut it down.

However, yesterday’s panel also declined to halt the prior ruling that said the Army Corps of Engineers needs to conduct an environmental impact assessment before ultimately deciding whether the pipeline can keep operating.

The DAPL is a 1,172-mile-long, 570,000-barrel-per-day oil pipeline that runs from North Dakota to Illinois.

On July 9, Electrek reported that DAPL’s owner, Energy Transfer LP, a Dallas-based company run by billionaire Kelcy Warren, refused to shut down after the July 6 court order. Energy Transfer continued to accept requests for oil space on the pipeline in August.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been fighting the pipeline since 2016 on the grounds that it damages the environment. Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access, said:

The bottom line is that the fight continues. We’re right on the law and we’re not giving up until this pipeline is shut down.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Mike Faith said:

We’ve been in this legal battle for four years, and we aren’t giving up this fight.

As the environmental review process gets under way in the months ahead, we look forward to showing why the Dakota Access Pipeline is too dangerous to operate.

The DAPL was completed in 2017 after Donald Trump ordered that it be revived, reversing the Obama administration’s denial of a permit.

Photo: Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune, via Associated Press

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.