The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a bid led by Dakota Access oil pipeline operator Energy Transfer LP (ET.N) to avoid additional environmental review of a section that runs under an artificial lake and is opposed by nearby Native American tribes, leaving the pipeline vulnerable to being shut down.
The justices left in place a lower court's decision that ordered the federal government to undertake a more intensive environmental study of the pipeline's route underneath Lake Oahe, which straddles the border of North Dakota and South Dakota. The pipeline, known as DAPL and open since 2017, will continue to operate as the review is carried out.
"We call on the administration to close the pipeline until a full safety and environmental review is complete. DAPL never should have been authorized in the first place, and this administration is failing to address the persistent illegality of this pipeline," said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the environmental group Earthjustice who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Dakota Access pipeline has been the subject of a lengthy court battle between tribes seeking its closure and Dallas-based Energy Transfer.