The Dakota Access pipeline company asked a federal court Tuesday to override the Obama administration’s latest delay on the hotly contested project as thousands of foes took part in a national day of protest.
Energy Transfer Partners, which had already been granted the permit before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withdrew it in September, filed a motion calling for the court to confirm the company’s right to complete the $3.8 billion project.
The Dallas-based company also asked the court to provide declaratory relief in order “to end the administration’s political interference in the Dakota Access Pipeline review process.”
“Dakota Access Pipeline has waited long enough to complete this pipeline. Dakota Access Pipeline has been granted every permit, approval, certificate, and right-of-way needed for the pipeline’s construction. 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,” said Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners.
The two filings came after the corps announced Monday that “additional discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and analysis are warranted” about the four-state, 1,172-mile project, which comes within a half-mile of the reservation in North Dakota.
Meanwhile, trial chairman David Archambault II called on President Obama to deny the easement over concerns about water quality and historic tribal relics.
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“Dakota Access is so desperate to get this project in the ground that it is now suing the federal government on the novel theory that it doesn’t need an easement to cross federal lands,” Mr. Archambault said in a statement. “They are wrong and the lawsuit will not succeed. We are looking forward to discussing the easement with the Administration and explaining why it must be denied.”
A federal judge refused in September to grant the tribe’s request for an injunction, saying the pipeline’s foes were unlikely to succeed in court and that tribal officials were often no-shows during the two-year federal permitting process.
The company’s filing comes the same day as thousands of anti-pipeline protesters held rallies in dozens of U.S. cities as part of the #NoDAPL National Day of Action.
Police arrested 25 people after several hundred blocked train tracks with cars and debris at a construction yard near Mandan, North Dakota, disrupting train traffic.
The protesters tried to ignite a vehicle on the train tracks using a rope drenched in kerosene, but were foiled by state troopers using fire extinguishers, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.
Law enforcement used pepper spray, a Taser deployment, and sponge and bean-bag rounds to disperse the protesters, the department said.
Charges against those arrested included tampering or damaging a public service, obstructing a government function, trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Despite the tribe’s frequent call for the protest to remain peaceful, nearly 500 arrests have been made during the three-month occupation for trespassing, rioting, setting fires, blocking highways and roads, and clashing with local law enforcement.
The final easement, granted initially by the corps in July, would allow the company to finish a 1,100-foot stretch beneath federal land that borders Lake Oahe, the last remaining segment of the pipeline in North Dakota.
The four-state project, which would bring about 500,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken formation to Illinois, is about 84 percent complete.