After latest delay, Dakota Access sponsor sues to complete pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners sued in federal district court on Nov. 15 for permission to complete the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline after the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) said the previous day that it would continue to delay issuing easement permits under Lake Oahe in North Dakota for further consultations with the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe (OGJ Online, Nov. 15, 2016).

An ETP spokesperson confirmed to OGJ on Nov. 16 that the petition had been filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia. Additional details were not immediately available.

ETP and its partner in the project, Sunoco Logistics Partners, jointly denounced the additional delay as unjust and a reinforcement of the Obama administration’s lack of interest in enforcing and abiding by the law around 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 14.

“Furthermore, there was no legal or factual justification stated by [ACE] for the delay,” they said. “In fact, [ACE] admitted again today that its review had concluded that all previous decisions complied with the all applicable legal requirements.”

In their statement, the partners said, “ACE knows full well that it is seeking consultation with a party which steadfastly has refused to consult. Rather than holding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe accountable for its decisions over the past 3 years, it seeks to reward them at this late date.”

ETP Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren said, “This action is motivated purely by politics at the expense of a company that has done nothing but play by the rules it was given. To propose, as [ACE] now does, to further delay this pipeline and to engage in what can only be described as a sham process sends a frightening message about the rule of law.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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