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High court urged not to take pipeline developers’ appeal

December 17, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject an appeal by developers of the Dakota Access oil pipeline who are seeking to reinstate a federal permit for the line’s Missouri River crossing.

Early this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed part of a lower court order that revoked the permit and required a new environmental review of the pipeline.

“Though the dispute over the pipeline garnered national attention, the D.C. Circuit’s decision plowed no new ground,” lawyers for Standing Rock and other Sioux tribes fighting the pipeline wrote in a brief filed Thursday.

The tribes argued that the high court should decline the developer’s petition to hear the case because appeals courts are not split on the issues surrounding the dispute, which can lead to the Supreme Court taking the case.

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The tribes say the D.C. Circuit judges applied a “conventional” review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permitting decisions and “found no abuse of discretion” in the lower court’s order revoking the permit, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The Corps permitted the pipeline’s river crossing, which is just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and where tribal members fear a leak could occur and harm their water supply. The pipeline is controlled by Texas-based Energy Transfer, which has long maintained that the line is safe.

The justices are expected to decide early next year whether to take up the case.