Energy & Environment

Dakota Access to ask Supreme Court to hear pipeline case

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The operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Thursday said in a filing that it will ask the Supreme Court to take up lower court rulings that found the pipeline is operating without a necessary permit.

A Washington appeals court had previously backed the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by Native American groups, agreeing the project required a full-scale environmental review. In the Thursday filing in the lower court, lawyers for the energy company asked for the pipeline to be allowed to operate while the nation’s highest court considers it.

“A stay would preserve the status quo, retaining jurisdiction in this Court to consider a potential request for relief from vacatur while the Supreme Court considers the forthcoming petition,” lawyers said in the filing obtained by Bloomberg Law.

In the filing, Dakota Access lawyers argued that the high court could disagree with lower court opinions on both the need for a more thorough review and the risk of oil spills to indigenous communities in the area.

Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, one of the lawyers representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the case, accused the company of attempting to circumvent environmental reviews.

“The courts have agreed that the pipeline requires a full, careful environmental impact statement,” Hasselman said in a statement obtained by The Hill “The pipeline’s increasingly desperate efforts to avoid this review speaks volumes.”

The filing comes the week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld an earlier decision, agreeing that the pipeline’s federal easement ran afoul of the National Environmental Policy Act. The company’s appeal to the Supreme Court has been broadly expected.

Although President Biden rescinded the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit upon taking office, the Justice Department has not taken similar action to halt the Dakota Access pipeline, although it has dropped its backing of the company in the lawsuit.

Sierra Club Director Michael Brune earlier this month said that the Biden administration’s decision “fail[s] 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.”

Tags Dakota Access Dakota Access Pipeline Joe Biden Lawsuit Standing Rock Supreme Court

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