DAPL’s environmental review could be finished March 2022, according to the U.S. Army Corps

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The Army Corps of Engineers gave their status report ordered by Judge James Boasberg, saying the environmental review should be finished by March of next year. However, the Corps added no new information has been found that would lead to shutting the pipeline down during the review.

In more filings Monday afternoon, tribes in opposition to the pipeline made it clear through court documents they don’t support the state intervening in the Dakota Access Pipeline case.

Although the Dakota Access Pipeline has been transporting oil for about four years, it’s clear the pipeline’s operation is still the subject of debate.

Judge James Boaseberg could soon decide whether to halt the pipeline’s operation, but there’s also potential for the case to end up in a higher court.

Energy Transfer, the owner and operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline, made a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved.

They want the Supreme Court to review lower court decisions regarding the potential shut down of the pipeline while the environmental review is ongoing and a ruling that found the pipeline is operating without a key permit due to a pending environmental review.

The DAPL debate has been ongoing for years and bringing it to the highest court in the nation could finally offer a final answer on whether the pipeline should be allowed to operate.

Energy Transfer won’t comment on legal matters, but said they’re “taking the proper steps to move through the legal process.” However, there’s lots of people involved other than just the company that built the pipeline.

Two tribal nations, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and MHA Nation, are both heavily involved as well, but for different reasons. Standing Rock has long been concerned about an oil spill polluting their water supply as it crosses the Missouri River north of the reservation.

“Outsiders come in and exploit resources and it’s the tribe that bears the burden,” said the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s attorney Jan Hasselman.

The MHA Nation is dependent on the pipeline for their tribe’s economic well-being, as 60% of the oil they produce is brought to market through the pipeline.

With opposing viewpoints on what needs to be done here, the tribes said they’re still respecting each other’s sides.

“I can guarantee you that the relationship between our relatives to the south, Standing Rock, and ours at MHA Nation are so intertwined. It’s often not us, our two nations, but outsiders who want to see a fight. Who want to see us pull apart. And we’re doing everything to show that’s not what we do, that’s not what we’re going to do,” said MHA Nation Tribal Chairman Mark Fox.

Fox said they did let the courts know how a shutdown would impact their tribal community, but said they’ll deal with whichever verdict the court decides.

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