An environmental impact review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, or DAPL, continues after the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition from the pipeline's operator to cancel the evaluation.
In July 2020, a federal judge ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline. Tuesday's decision from the high court partially upheld that ruling.
The lower court ruling also ordered the pipeline's operator, Energy Transfer, to shut down operations within 30 days, but an appeals court rejected that part of the ruling in August 2020.
Moving an estimated 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, the pipeline remains operational. Energy Transfer, however, has argued that the environmental impact review and potential shutdown has made its future uncertain. In a September court filing, the company asked the Supreme Court to review its case and end the environmental analysis.
''DAPL's ongoing operation thus remains uncertain, with a substantial risk of a shutdown,'' the company wrote. ''This Court should intervene to eliminate this uncertainty and, by reversing the panel decision, restore Dakota Access's easement in order to ensure its continued operation and avoid the economic and environmental fallout of a shutdown.''
In January 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order expediting the Corps of Engineers' review of the 1,172-mile pipeline. It came online in June of that year.
Mike Faith, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which filed the legal challenge against the Trump administration over the pipeline approval, denounced the decision.
''We are gravely concerned about the continued operation of this pipeline, which poses an unacceptable risk to our sovereign nation,'' Faith said in a statement. ''In a meeting with members of [President Joe] Biden's staff earlier this year, we were told that this new administration wanted to 'get this right.'''
''Unfortunately, today's update from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows it has chosen to ignore our pleas and stick to the wrong path,'' Faith added.
The Biden administration decided against canceling the DAPL in April, choosing instead to wait for the final environmental review.
The Daily Caller reports that activists and Hollywood celebrities have protested the pipeline, and environmentalists have argued that the pipeline could leak and damage Native American tribal lands and water sources.
Responding that the pipeline is ''one of the most technologically advanced and safest pipelines'' ever built and doesn't cross Native lands, Energy Transfer said that it doesn't affect any water source.
The environmental impact statement is expected to be completed by September.
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