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Hoeven Comments on Court Order to Stop DAPL
Nebraska Ag Connection - 07/07/2020

U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota released the following statement after a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline must be shut down beginning Aug. 5 while the U.S. Army Corps completes an environmental impact statement:

"The Dakota Access Pipeline is vital energy infrastructure for North Dakota and our nation. The pipeline is equipped with the latest safeguards and technology, and after undergoing years of thorough state regulatory reviews and an extensive federal environmental assessment, it has been operating safely since 2017. Today's district court ruling comes at a very difficult time because it will severely impact our state's economy at the same time we are working to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate the company will appeal the decision to the Circuit Court which should allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue to operate while the Army Corps of Engineers works to finalize its environmental impact statement."

The decision by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia followed the cancellation of another high-profile U.S. pipeline project on Sunday and came as a blow to the Trump administration's efforts to lift the domestic fossil fuels industry by rolling back environmental red tape.

According to the ruling, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it granted an easement to Energy Transfer LP to construct and operate a segment of the oil pipeline beneath Lake Oahe in South Dakota, because they failed to produce an adequate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The court ordered Energy Transfer to shut and empty the 570,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) line within 30 days, closing off the biggest artery transporting crude oil out of North Dakota's Bakken shale basin to Midwest and Gulf Coast regions.

"Given the seriousness of the Corps' NEPA 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," it said.

It is rare for regulators or officials to force an oil pipeline to be drained, unless it is in the aftermath of a spill, oil market sources said.

Energy Transfer said it was looking at legal and administrative measures to avoid a shutdown, and was considering an appeal if those efforts fail.

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