Energy Industry Accuses Obama Of Upending The Law In Dakota Pipeline Case

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Several energy companies accused the Obama administration Friday of upending the law when it decided to halt construction on an oil pipeline that had previously been approved by the government.

“When your agencies upend or modify the results of a full and fair regulatory process for an infrastructure project, these actions do not merely impact a single company,” they wrote in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“The industries that manufacture and develop the infrastructure, the labor that builds it, and the American consumers that depend on it all suffer” from President Barack Obama’s decision to temporarily halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

American Chemistry Council, Independent Petroleum Association of America, National Association of Manufacturers and Edison Electric Institute were among those signing the letter.

The pipeline will shuttle nearly 600,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from western North Dakota to southern Illinois, among other states, and will create an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 jobs, according to reports.

Obama temporarily scuttled the project in September after members of the Standing Rock Sioux attempted file an injunction against the $3.8 billion project, arguing the pipeline will damage the group’s sacred ground.

The tribe haggled with the oil pipeline developers over whether the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) can and should be used to prevent construction on the pipeline. The NHPA is legislation intended to allow the government to preserve historical and archaeological sites.

Obama’s decision was made only after a judge on the U.S. District Court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction to the tribe, arguing it could not show how the pipeline would damage the group’s sacred ground.

The government decided to rescind approval for the project despite court documents showing the regulatory agencies had gone through great lengths to discuss the hotly contested oil pipeline with members of the Standing Rock Sioux.

The Army Corps of Engineers, in fact, attempted more than 15 times between 2014 and 2016 to discuss the Dakota Access pipeline route with the tribe. But the tribe either failed to respond to requests for consultation or dragged its feet during the process, even after the Corps continued to badger the group.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company overlooking the pipeline, even worked with the Sioux to reroute the pipeline around 91 various sites the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe considered sacred.

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