The company behind a contested oil pipeline in North Dakota wants a federal judge to block the Obama administration’s attempts to thwart the multi-billion dollar Dakota Access Pipeline.
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) requested U.S. District Judge James Boasberg prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from publishing its intent to conduct an environment impact study on the project.
Any future studies on the controversial pipeline, the company said, should be scuttled until Boasberg rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission to construct the so-called DAPL under Lake Oahe, a body of water near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. ETP wants the pipeline’s permits “free from the risk that its ruling will be frustrated or thwarted by new governmental actions.”
Boasberg denied a motion for a preliminary injunction last September, arguing the tribe could not show how the pipeline would damage the group’s sacred ground. President Barack Obama responded by temporarily blocking the project.
ETP projects that the DAPL, once completed, will create up to 12,000 construction jobs and provide millions in state and local revenues during the construction phase, but is losing $20 million every day it is delayed. The Corp’s impact study could take years to complete, according to the Department of Energy.
Anti-DAPL and Standing Rock members believe the line’s construction would trample on tribal lands and potentially poison Lake Oahe. Many protesters remain at the campsite even after the previously approved project was rejected last month.
Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN Coalition), one of the groups publicly supporting the DAPL, believes Obama’s use of the Army to stymie the pipeline is a last-ditch effort at staying relevant.
Our group believes “that the Trump Administration, the courts, and the public will recognize this latest political stunt for what it is – a flailing attempt for relevance,” MAIN spokesman Craig Stevens told The Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF) in a press statement.
He added: “It’s unfortunate that the outgoing administration would try to hamstring the professionals at the Army Corps of Engineers,” whose agents already completed a survey and approved the DAPL route.
The Army Corps conducted an assessment last year determining that the Oahe crossing would not have a significant impact on the environment.
The approval was later overturned by Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, an Obama appointee, who brought the 1,172-mile-long pipeline to a halt after deciding in December that more tests needed to be conducted.
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