ND pipeline company asks federal court to force approval

ND pipeline company asks federal court to force approval

The company building the contentious Dakota Access oil pipeline is asking a federal court to grant its final approval, overriding the Obama administration’s latest delay to construction in North Dakota.

Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliate, Sunoco Logistics Partners, said Tuesday that they have filed motions in the District Court for the District of Columbia.

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The filing came after the Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that Dakota Access meets the qualifications for the easement it needs in North Dakota, but the agency wants to discuss the issue more with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe before granting approval.

“Dakota Access Pipeline has waited long enough to complete this pipeline,” Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, said in a statement.

“Dakota Access Pipeline has been granted every permit, approval, certificate, and right-of-way needed for the pipeline’s construction. It is time for the courts to end this political interference and remove whatever legal cloud that may exist over the right-of-way beneath federal land at Lake Oahe.”

The filing is the latest volley in a months-long fight over Dakota Access. The pipeline’s opponents say it threatens Standing Rock’s water rights and sacred grounds, even though it is not in their reservation.

The Obama administration first delayed the pipeline construction in September, despite a federal judge’s decision that it can move forward.

While the Army Corps has granted a permit for the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, it maintains that the company also needs an easement, which it has not been granted yet.

With the latest court filing, Energy Transfer is asking the judge to declare that it does not need the easement and it can go ahead with construction immediately.