North Dakota Access Pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) intends to spend $3.7 billion building the North Dakota Access Pipeline (NDAP), to carry between 400,000 and 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the Bakken and Three Forks production regions of North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, to pipeline networks in Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline would be 30 inches wide, traveling 1,172 miles, and crossing more than 200 waterways

The Standing Rock Sioux wants to prevent Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) from further disturbing sacred sites west of the Missouri river. The tribe also fears for the safety of its drinking water, with the pipeline set to cross under the Missouri River upstream of its water intake pipes. ETP sought an injunction against protests by the Standing Rock tribe and others, but a judge rejected it in September 2016.

Earthjustice, representing the Standing Rock Sioux, brought legal action in July 2016 raising numerous issues with environmental review and tribal sovereignty. A ruling is expected in early October 2016. More details forthcoming. On Wednesday (1/18/17), U.S. District Court Judge James Boesberg denied DAPL attorneys’ attempt to stop the Army Corp of Engineers from conducting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Lake Oahe crossing. Following Boesberg’s decision, the Army Corps of Engineers officially published a notice of intent in the federal register to prepare a partial EIS. The legal process now moves into the formal comment period, which lasts until February 20. The EIS was ordered after the Corps denied a permit for Energy Transfer Partners, DAPL’s parent company, to build the final easement under Lake Oahe.

Recent News: An appeals court on Saturday, March 18 2017, refused to grant the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes’ request for an emergency order that would prevent oil from flowing through the pipeline. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion on June 14 2017 that found the Army Corp’s environmental analysis inadequate, but litigation continues over whether an EIS will be required and whether pipeline operations will be halted during the lawsuit.

We support the efforts of the Water Protector Legal Collective, started by National Lawyers Guild members, to defend the rights of water protectors, including both individual representation and through a class action lawsuit filed November 28, 2016.