North Dakota pipeline ruling not expected until after November elections

A federal judge overseeing a longstanding legal battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline isn’t likely to decide until late this year or early next year whether to order the flow of oil to cease.

The Bismarck Tribune reported that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg earlier this year issued a shutdown order that was overturned by a federal appeals court that concluded he hadn’t justified the move. American Indian tribes who sued over the pipeline four years ago are making a renewed push as the legal battle continues in both U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Tribes want Boasberg to issue an “injunction on continued pipeline operations.” An injunction is an order prohibiting something. In this case, it would stop pipeline developer Energy Transfer from operating the pipeline while the legal fight plays out.

Attorneys for the tribes and the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday submitted a proposed schedule for briefs, or written arguments, that extends to Dec. 18, after which Boasberg would rule, should he sign off on the schedule.

Much could happen before then. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which permitted the pipeline, is expected to decide by mid-October whether to continue allowing Dakota Access to move oil. Boasberg in July invalidated the federal easement that allows the line to cross under the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The means the pipeline is now considered an “encroachment” on federal property.

Source: Bismarck Tribune