Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners have made two federal court filings following the postponement of an easement decision related to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The companies are seeking a judgement ‘declaring that Dakota Access Pipeline has the legal right-of-way to build, complete and operate the pipeline without any further action from the Army Corps of Engineers’.
This follows a decision from the Corps that additional discussion and analysis is needed before making a final decision on whether to grant an easement over construction, which would cross underground part of Lake Oahe and impact the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
It says in a statement that while these discussions are ongoing, construction on or under Corps land bordering Lake Oahe cannot occur because the Army has not made a final decision on whether to grant an easement.
In its court filings, Dakota Access Pipeline is requesting the court to confirm that the Corps has already granted all of the relevant authorisations and given the pipeline its right-of-way to finish the pipeline beneath the federal land that borders the lake as a result of its prior actions in granting a permit to allow the pipeline to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe.
Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, says: ‘Dakota Access Pipeline has waited long enough to complete this pipeline. [The pipeline] has been grated 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.’
He adds: ‘This action is motivated purely by politics at the expense of a company that has done nothing but play by the rules it was given. To propose, as the Corps now does, to further delay this pipeline and to engage in what can only be described as a sham process sends a frightening messages about the rule of law.’
A series of protests have taken place against the controversial pipeline and a UN human rights expert has called for a halt to the construction of the pipeline – citing significant risks to the drinking water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the potential destruction of their burial grounds and scared sites.