A panel of federal appeals judges has denied a procedural request by the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline to formally close out the court's involvement in the case.
The judges, David Tatel, Patricia Millett and David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, issued the ruling Thursday in a one-sentence order that did not include their reasons behind the decision.
Dakota Access had made the request while indicating that it will appeal the D.C. Circuit's recent decision affirming the need for more environmental review to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ordering a "stay of the mandate" would have preserved the status quo by allowing the D.C. Circuit to retain jurisdiction if a lower court judge orders the pipeline to shut down, according to Dakota Access.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposed Dakota Access's request. The tribe argued the pipeline company could still file an emergency appeal with the D.C. Circuit in the event of a shutdown order.
A ruling on a potential pipeline shutdown could come any day from U.S. District Judge James Boasberg. He ordered the pipeline to stop operating last year while the environmental review is underway. That review will determine whether the pipeline is reissued a permit for its Missouri River crossing just upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation.
D.C. Circuit judges halted the shutdown order last summer, saying he hadn't justified it. Standing Rock later asked Boasberg to again order the line to stop pumping oil, and he's expected to rule on the matter soon.
Energy Transfer Executive Chairman Kelcy Warren earlier this week spoke in Bismarck, where he expressed confidence that the pipeline would continue to operate. He said it's "business as usual" for Dakota Access while the review is underway. If Boasberg again issues a shutdown order, the company is expected to appeal.
The Dakota Access Pipeline runs from the Bakken oil fields of western North Dakota to Illinois. It's been operating since June 2017.
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