Energy & Environment

Biden gets more time to decide on Dakota Access Pipeline

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The Biden administration will get more time to decide the fate of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

In a filing late Monday, the government asked a court to postpone a conference on the status of the pipeline for 58 days while it gets new officials up to speed on the case. 

“Department of Justice personnel require time to brief the new administration officials and those officials will need sufficient time to learn the background of and familiarize themselves with this lengthy and detailed litigation,” the government said. 

The docket shows the Feb. 10 conference for that case has been moved to April 9.

The government’s motion was initially opposed by Dakota Access LLC, but was not opposed by the tribes who sued over the pipeline. 

Last month, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that the government should have conducted an environmental impact statement before going forward with the pipeline and vacated easements granted for its construction to cross federally owned land.

However, it did not go as far as a lower court, which had previously ordered the pipeline shut down, leaving that decision up to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 

The court also left room for additional litigation to potentially shut down the pipeline if the USACE decides against it.

The pipeline, which carries oil from North Dakota to Illinois, has drawn significant opposition from environmentalists and tribes over the years who have cited threats to drinking water and sacred sites. It has spurred massive protests. 

The pipeline was completed in 2017 after it was revived by former President Trump, who reversed an Obama administration decision to deny it a permit.

President Biden in his first days in office has revoked a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil from Canada to the U.S, and Dakota Access opponents are hoping he will similarly shut down the other pipeline. 

However, his Keystone move has garnered significant pushback from Republicans. 

-Updated 6 p.m.

Tags Dakota Access Pipeline DAPL Donald Trump Joe Biden pipelines
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