Energy & Environment

Appeals court denies new hearing over Dakota Access pipeline permit

A federal appeals court on Friday declined to rehear a ruling against the Dakota Access pipeline after it agreed in January that its permit violated federal law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld its January decision, which agreed with a lower court that the pipeline’s federal easement was a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. The court declined without explanation to review that earlier decision.

Dakota Access, the pipeline company behind the project, will likely seek to have the case heard by the Supreme Court, although the federal government has dropped its backing of the company.

In its January decision, the appeals court ruled the pipeline’s easement was not subject to sufficient environmental review.

In a separate case, a federal district court is considering a request from pipeline opponents, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, to shut down the pipeline over the easement issues.

Although President Biden rescinded the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline as one of his first acts in office, the Justice Department has so far declined to halt the Dakota Access pipeline during the regulatory review process. This has caught the ire of a number of environmental groups that backed Biden in the presidential race, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“President Biden campaigned and was elected on the boldest climate platform ever. Minutes after being sworn in, Biden began taking real, meaningful climate action,” Sierra Club Director Michael Brune said in a statement earlier this month. “Yet, President Biden’s actions today fail to live up to the climate and Tribal commitments he made, nor is it in line with the bold action he has taken since taking office.”

The Hill has reached out to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for comment.

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