The Dakota Access Pipeline will not be ordered to shut down while pending review, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Brian Boasberg on Friday, much to the ire of environmentalists who have long called for the pipeline to be shut down.
According to Ben Shifman, a Justice Department Attorney, the government is still reserving the right to shut down the pipeline at any time during the environmental review by the Army Corps of Engineers.
That review is not expected to be complete until this time next year. For DAPL, that’s a lot of uncertainty.
The Dakota Access Pipeline has been embroiled for years in a bitter battle with environmentalists and indigenous groups on one side, and the oil and gas industry on the other.
It was Judge Brian Boasberg that canceled the DAPL’s permit given by the Trump Administration that allowed it to move crude oil. And it was Judge Brian Boasberg that ordered DAPL to empty and shut down, claiming its environmental review was insufficient. And it was Judge Brian Boasberg that voiced his “surprise” that President Biden decided not to shut down the pipeline today.
But an appellate court reversed Boasberg’s earlier decision to shut down the pipeline, and allowed DAPL to continue while the Army Corps of Engineers conducts its review. At that time, the Army Corps of Engineers decided not to shut DAPL during its re-review.
Today, President Biden declined to enforce a temporary shutdown of DAPL pending this review, which could still take a year. But this would have meant stopping the flow of a pipeline that has been moving oil for years, and not even President Biden and his vocal green agenda is so bold as that.
But DAPL’s tough road isn’t over. Judge Brian Boasberg said on Friday that he would decide for himself whether to keep the pipeline open. Energy Transfer Partners, DAPL’s owner, has ten days to submit its comments to the court as to the effects of a shutdown.