ETP seeks federal ruling on Dakota oil pipeline
The request filed in the US District Court in the District of Columbia claims that the company already has the legal right of way to complete the line without any further action from the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Energy Transfer is responding to a decision yesterday by the administration of President Barack Obama to delay a decision on a final Army Corps easement for DAPL near Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the site of large protests led by Native American groups.
The company denounced the decision as a "sham process" that sends "a frightening message" about the rule of law.
"Dakota Access pipeline has been granted every permit, approval, certificate, and right-of-way needed for the pipeline's construction," said chief executive Kelcy Warren. "It is time for the courts to end this political interference and remove whatever legal cloud that may exist over the right-of-way beneath federal land at Lake Oahe."
The Army Corps delay put on hold completion of the \\$3.7bn pipeline which would carry at least 470,000 b/d of crude from the Bakken fields in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, for further delivery to the Gulf coast.
The underlying case is a lawsuit filed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the Army Corps which claims the pipeline would destroy sacred, culturally significant and historic sites, and threaten drinking water sources. Energy Transfer denies the allegations.
The Army Corps has already approved pipeline construction beneath federal land that borders Lake Oahe as a result of its prior action in granting a permit to allow DAPL to cross the Missouri river at the lake, Energy Transfer contends in a court filing late yesterday.
The company cited an Army Corps determination on 25 July that the pipeline crossing would have no significant impact on the environment and would "not be injurious to the public interest."
The pipeline does not require any "additional governmental authorization or documentation" for it to cross federal land, Energy Transfer said.
The Army Corps disputes that conclusion. It said Energy Transfer still needs a final easement for about 500 ft of land on each side of the lake.
The agency yesterday said that it needed more time to decide on the easement to have further talks with the Standing Rock tribe and others "in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation's dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property."
The Standing Rock tribe said today that Energy Transfer is showing "desperation" and rushing to get the pipeline in the ground to meet shipping contract deadlines.
"The only urgency here was created by their own reckless choice to build the pipeline before it had all the permits to do so," said the tribe's chairman Dave Archambault. Energy Transfer chose to put the pipeline "at our doorstep and through our treaty lands and sacred places, even after we told them that it could not pass here," he said.
Energy Transfer said the delay has already cost the company more than \\$450mn dollars. Further postponements will cost tens of millions of dollars per month, none of which can be recovered, the company said in court filings.
Energy Transfer said last week that DAPL was 84pc complete. The company was moving horizontal drilling equipment to a drill site in preparation for tunneling under the lake.