April 12, 2021

Biden Administration Will Allow Dakota Pipeline Work To Continue

As The Hill reported, on April 9 the Biden administration announced that it will allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to remain in operation while the federal government reviews its environmental impact. As Connecting the Dots reported at the time, in January 2021 a federal court ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers should have conducted an environmental impact statement before the pipeline was allowed to move forward.

A lawyer for the administration said the pipeline owner would need to abide by conditions set in the permit that allowed for the pipeline’s construction. The Biden administration reportedly did leave the door open for potential changes in the future, however, saying the issue is a matter of “continuing discretion.”

Judge James Boasberg, who is overseeing a case concerning the project, reacted to the decision with surprise. He said, “I would have thought there would have been a decision one way or the other at this point.” Boasberg said he will now have to evaluate a request from tribes to shut down the pipeline down.

According to the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), which MSCI is a member of, if the Dakota Access Pipeline is canceled it will mean 500,000 barrels of oil per day will need to be transported via the nation’s rail system. Using rail instead of the pipeline would cause locomotives to emit 750,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year by burning 68 million gallons of diesel fuel.