The folks trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline got a win from a federal judge today, but it didn’t last long. Immediately after the judge issued his order the Obama administration announced that they would be blocking construction of the pipeline on Corps land adjacent to, and under, Lake Oahe.
As you can see from this map of the Dakota Access route…
…there is no way to build the the pipeline without crossing the waters of the Missouri River. And you can’t cross the Missouri River without the say-so of the Corps of Engineers.
The full press release from the Obama administration is below.
“The administration’s just trying to slow the project until Obama doesn’t have to take the blame,” a political friend said to me as this news broke.
I suspect that’s probably right. It’s really the Keystone XL pipeline strategy again, only President Obama’s time in office is now limited, and this time the instrument of obstruction is the Department of Justice and the Corps instead of the State Department.
Regardless, this is outrageous. Rank abuse of the regulatory process for political ends.
As I wrote in my newspaper column on Sunday, at some point there has to be a finish line for the regulatory process. But under the Obama administration, the rule of law takes a back seat to politics.