Supreme Court won’t take Dakota Access Pipeline case

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to consider an appeal of a lawsuit over the Dakota Access Pipeline, meaning that an ongoing environmental review of the pipeline will continue.

Dakota Access, which is controlled by Texas-based Energy Transfer, appealed a lower court ruling that affirmed the need for a more thorough environmental study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The Corps issued an easement for the pipeline’s Missouri River crossing in 2017, but a federal judge concluded in 2020 that a prior environmental analysis of the line was inadequate and revoked the permit. The outcome of the new environmental review, which the agency began in September 2020, will determine whether the Corps reissues the permit.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is concerned that the pipeline could break and that an oil spill could ruin its water supply. The line passes under the Missouri River upstream from its reservation. The tribe first sued over the pipeline five years ago.

Energy Transfer and the Corps maintain the line is safe.

The Supreme Court justices did not offer any rationale Tuesday on why they declined to take the case. The court typically selects about 100 cases a year out of thousands of requests.

The pipeline has operated since 2017 and was the target of large protests in south-central North Dakota during construction.