Federal Judge Ends Long-Running Dakota Access Pipeline Lawsuit
A federal judge has dismissed the Standing Rock Sioux lawsuit to stop operations of the Dakota Access pipeline, bringing to an end the long-running legal fight in a defeat for anti-pipeline forces.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who has presided over the five-year-old Dakota Access court battle, closed the case Tuesday in his order, a month after denying a request to halt the flow of oil through the pipeline during a federal environmental review.
He left open the possibility that the tribe could file an alternative legal challenge to resume its attempt to shutter the pipeline ahead of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact statement on the Missouri River crossing, which is expected in March.
“The clerk shall TERMINATE this matter, but plaintiffs may move to have it reopened in the event, for example, of a violation of the Court’s prior Orders,” said Judge Boasberg in brief issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
In his May 21 decision, the judge said the tribe had failed to demonstrate a “likelihood of irreparable injury” from the 1,172-mile pipeline’s continued operation, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
The tribe has long sought to halt the $3.8 billion pipeline, which began running oil in June 2017 following nearly a year of protests targeting construction of a segment under Lake Oahe, about a half-mile from the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.
The pipeline, owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer, delivers 570,000 barrels per day from North Dakota’s Bakken field to an oil terminal in southern Illinois.
Environmental groups have urged President Biden to shut down the pipeline, but his administration indicated in April that it would await the outcome of the Army Corps of Engineers review.
Mr. Biden also has come under pressure to block the construction of Enbridge Line 3 in northern Minnesota, which has become a favorite protest site for activists.
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