Dakota Access sponsor asks federal appeals court to restore permits

Lawyers for the Dakota Access crude-oil pipeline project asked a federal appeals court to reinstate permits for a portion of the system that the Obama administration withdrew in early September following a series of protests and confrontations (OGJ Online, Sept. 12, 2016).

The American Petroleum Institute has said the permit withdrawals set a dangerous precedent for transportation systems across the country, but it is not involved in this case. “We are looking forward to hearing the response from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. We want to make sure that the rule of law is followed,” API Midstream Group Director Robin Rorick told reporters during an Oct. 5 teleconference.

“This could affect not just our industry’s building capabilities, but also other industries’ plans for new infrastructure. As long as the process is followed, it gives laborers and project sponsors certainty to move forward,” Rorick said.

“If the tribes or anyone else want to have a discussion about expanding or changing the permitting process, we’d be happy to participate,” Rorick said. “But I don’t think it’s appropriate to hold this project, which followed the existing process, hostage for a discussion which might be held in the future.”

Rorick spoke a few days after the general presidents of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and four other labor unions told US President Barack Obama in a letter that the US Army Corps of Engineers withdrawal of a previously issued permit for part of the pipeline in North Dakota raised troubling questions about the future of building future US infrastructure and the livelihoods of the project’s construction workers (OGJ Online, Oct. 4, 2016).

“I understand that about 60% of the pipeline has been completed,” Rorick said. “This is about one piece of it. We would like to see this resolved so the entire project can move forward.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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