Louisiana is among 18 states filing a joint amicus brief last week arguing against the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The briefs come in a case in which U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has ruled the permits for the pipeline issued by the Army Corps of Engineers violated federal environmental law. He has ordered the pipeline to cease operations while the corps amends its environmental assessment. It’s the latest development in a multiyear fight that involved high-profile Standing Rock protests in North Dakota in 2016.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has now issued an administrative stay in the case and will consider arguments from the states and others before ruling on a requested emergency stay, most likely in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the pipeline remains operational.
The West Fargo Pioneer reports a total 14 legal briefs were filed from a broad spectrum of interest groups, representing energy, agriculture and state governments, expressing support for the continued operation of the controversial pipeline through the long appeals process ahead.
Among other arguments, the 18 states insist they “stand to suffer disastrous consequences” from the major shift to rail transport required by a Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown in North Dakota. They allege the move would displace rail cars needed for agricultural transportation in other parts of the country. The states offered broad estimates of the potential damage to their economies, but the brief claims that the shutdown would cost several grain-producing states like South Dakota, Indiana, and Montana each tens of millions of dollars in revenue.