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February 1, 2021

Court Says Dakota Access Pipeline Can Move Forward, But Review Needed

 As The Hill reported, on January 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower court judge’s April 2020 order that had called for a more extensive environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline, a 1,172-mile underground pipeline that will transport light sweet crude oil from the Bakken/Three Forks production area in North Dakota to Patoka, Ill.

Specifically, a three-judge panel ruled that the federal government should have conducted an environmental impact statement before going forward with the pipeline. As such, it vacated easements granted for its construction to cross federally owned land and ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct the environmental assessment. Importantly, however, construction of the pipeline will be allowed to continue while the environmental impact review is underway.

As The Associated Press explained, the Obama administration originally rejected permits for the pipeline, but in February 2017, after President Donald Trump took office, the Army Corps of Engineers granted permits, concluding that running the pipeline under the Missouri River posed no significant environmental issues.

The pipeline has created approximately 8,000 to 12,000 jobs during construction.