By Rachel Adams-Heard and Ellen Gilmer
It’s the latest sign that Energy Transfer is preparing for yet another battle over the Dakota Access crude pipeline, which four years ago drew months of on-the-ground protests from environmental groups and tribes opposed to the project’s route across Lake Oahe, a dammed section of the Missouri River just a half-mile from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas.
“Energy Transfer is playing a very dangerous game,” said Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access. “They don’t get to ignore a federal court order just because they disagree with it.”
When asked whether Energy Transfer plans to defy Boasberg’s decision if it remains in effect Aug. 5, Granado reiterated that the company doesn’t think he has the authority to shut the line.
Prices for Bakken crude, produced in North Dakota, rose after the news that Energy Transfer planned to keep the line in service. The discount for Bakken at Clearbrook, Minn., narrowed 60 cents to $2.15 a barrel against Nymex oil futures, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Energy Transfer has multiple routine options for fighting the shutdown order in court. It’s asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to suspend the decision, and it’s pursuing an appeal. If those efforts fail, it can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to step in.
If Energy Transfer opts to bypass those traditional routes and instead simply refuses to shut down the pipeline, the district court could hold the company in contempt — an action that often includes fines or jail time.