The Army Corps of Engineers and the developer of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline project have asked a federal judge to allow the line to remain open while they complete an additional environmental review, according to the Star Tribune.
Energy Transfer Partners said a shutdown of the pipeline, which transports almost 50% of oil produced in North Dakota, would cost them $90 million a month and state and local governments $10 million. So far the line has moved 756 million gallons of oil.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, according to The Bismarck Tribune, ruled last month that the Army Corps did not sufficiently consider the consequences of a spill at the southern North Dakota Lake Oahe crossing, which has been the site of many heated protests over that very issue. The Army Corps made the initial determination that the pipeline could be safely run under Lake Oahe because it is buried 100 feet deep, making a spill unlikely.
Ironically, it was Boasberg back in March who denied requests by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to stop work on the pipeline. In the week before the pipeline was complete, the tribes alleged that it would prevent them from practicing their religion, which requires clean water for some ceremonies.
The Dakota Access project, which had been held up by legal challenges, was brought back to life after President Donald Trump took office. One of the president's first actions in office was to issue a memorandum ordering the secretary of the Army to "review and approve" the pipeline's plan to cross a waterway.
Trump issued another official memo earlier this year urging Keystone XL developers resubmit their application, which the Obama administration had previously denied.
Concerns over safety and potential environmental damage have plagued both projects, though advocates highlight the rigorous application and review process applied to such work. Technology such as drones and sensors are used to monitor progress and detect problems, such as a leak or irregular flow. Construction groups, meanwhile, highlight such projects' job-creation potential.