A coalition of nearly 20 Democratic state attorneys general this week in a court filing urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline – affirming a lower court’s earlier ruling that scrapped the Army Corps’ environmental review of key permit for the project and ordering the crude oil pipeline be shuttered until additional review is completed.
The group of attorneys general, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, put politics before the energy security of our nation – prioritizing emotion, anti-pipeline rhetoric, and an ideological opposition to the use of fossil fuels rather than reality and fact. The Army Corps has reiterated in court filings that they followed standard operating procedures in reviewing and permitting the Dakota Access Pipeline, performing an environmental assessment (EA) as required by law that resulted in a “Finding of No Significant Impact” or “FONSI.”
In a statement, Healey went as far as to allege the “pipeline was rubber stamped by the Trump Administration without consideration of the concerns raised by the indigenous community,” completely disregarding the multi-year, rigorous permitting and approval process – which included local, state, and federal regulatory agencies – and largely took place before President Trump was even elected. The permitting of DAPL was a process that included extensive scientific review and hundreds of consultation meetings with local stakeholders and tribes.
Further, their filing ignores the fact that Dakota Access has safely operated for more than three years – serving as a critical component of our nation’s energy infrastructure network, transporting up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota to southern Illinois before being distributed to consumer markets.
A recent study from the American Petroleum Institute explains that the economic ramifications of a DAPL shutdown would be significant and reach far beyond the oil and gas industry, leading to the loss of more than $900 million in state tax revenues and more than 7,000 family-sustaining jobs.
Rather than jeopardize American energy security and economic interests when we need them most, the Democratic attorneys general should recognize the importance of DAPL and set aside politics to serve the best interest of American consumers and our nation’s economy, national security, and energy future.