In this blog:
- Another court win! Pressure now on Biden to shut down DAPL
- Video celebrating the movement that stopped Keystone XL
- Ways President Biden could Stop Line 3
- Update on legal motions to stay Line 3’s construction
Another court win! Pressure now on Biden to shut down DAPL
A federal appeals court today upheld a lower court ruling that found the Dakota Access Pipeline’s environmental review to be inadequate, the Washington Post reports.
It’s a victory for the Standing Rock Nation that has been trying for years to stop the pipeline. DAPL crosses the Missouri River just north of Standing Rock.
Last spring, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needed to conduct a more thorough environmental assessment, notably a review of “how an oil spill under the Missouri River might affect Standing Rock’s fishing and hunting rights, or whether it might disproportionately affect the tribal community,” the story said.
Boasberg initially ordered Energy Transfer, DAPL’s owner, to cease operations and empty oil from the pipeline. Energy Transfer appealed to the federal court of appeals, which took the case and delayed Boasberg’s shutdown order.
Today’s federal appeals court ruling didn’t order Energy Transfer to shut down DAPL pending environmental review. But it certainly leaves the door wide open for Biden to do so.
Bloomberg News reports DAPL opponents are now pursing two paths to shut down the pipeline.
First, tribes are asking the lower court “to issue a fresh shutdown order under a different legal standard. Second, tribes and environmentalists are pushing President Joe Biden’s administration to exercise its separate authority to pause pipeline operations.”
Technically, the Corps could revoke DAPL’s easement to cross federal lands.
Stay tuned. The federal appeals court said it expected the Corps “to decide promptly” on how or when to exercise its property rights, Bloomberg reported.
Video celebrating the movement that stopped Keystone XL
Check out this two minute, 20 second video produced by 350.org, celebrating the mass movement that succeeded in getting President Biden to revoke Keystone XL pipeline permits, effectively stopping the project. (Stop Line 3 gets a brief cameo, too.)
Ways President Biden could Stop Line 3
It should be a no-brainer to stop Line 3. It threatens Minnesota’s clean waters and wild rice. It threatens global climate; it’s projected to add $287 billion in damages (droughts, storms, agricultural losses, etc.) over three decades. It violates treaty rights. And as the Minnesota Department of Commerce has concluded, Enbridge never even proved the pipeline was needed.
Biden has two hammers to use to shut down this project: The federal Clean Water Act and the “Presidential Permit.”
Hammer 1: Last November, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued Enbridge a permit saying Line 3 met federal Clean Water Act criteria.
Tribes and Indigenous and environmental groups have filed suit to reverse that decision. They contend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should have conducted its own environmental impact statement. The Corps:
- Failed to consider whether the project might violate or encroach on treaty rights and other important interests of indigenous nations.
- Refused to evaluate the grave risks and impacts of pipeline oil spills, including spills into wetlands, streams, and rivers under Corps jurisdiction.
- Ignored the pipeline’s climate impacts.
Those opposed to Line 3 have organized a rally at the St. Paul office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this Friday afternoon for just this reason: To demand that Biden and the Corps reverse the Trump-era decision to approve Line 3’s federal permits. (Facebook Event Page here.)
Hammer 2: The Line 3 pipeline also requires a “Presidential Permit” to cross the U.S. border from Canada, the same type of permit that Biden just revoked for Keystone XL over climate damage concerns.
Update on legal motions to stay Line 3’s construction
Line 3 opponents currently have legal challenges in the Minnesota Court of Appeals and federal court to delay Line 3 construction until lawsuits seeking to overturn its permits are heard and decided. There will be no court hearings on these motions. Parties have filed legal briefs. Court decisions on the delay requests are expected any day now.