Daklahoma pipeline gets approval for expanded capacity

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Daklahoma pipeline gets approval for expanded capacity

Oil pours out of Edwin Drake's original 1859 well that launched the modern petroleum industry at the Drake Well Museum and Park in Titusville, Pennsylvania on October 5, 2017 U.S. REUTERS Brendan McDermid File Photo

January 12, Reuters - An Illinois appellate court vacated the approval of the Illinois Commerce Commission ICC to allow expansion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline capacity up to 1.1 million barrels per day.

Prior to its completion in 2017, the pipeline out of North Dakota's Bakken shale basin had been a source of controversy. Opponents said its construction destroyed sacred artifacts and posed a threat to Lake Oahe, a critical drinking water supply, and the greater Missouri River.

The pipeline was subject to a legal challenge last year by Standing Rock Sioux and other adversaries to shut it down. The pipeline will continue operating at least until a federal environmental review is completed, a process which is expected to take until March 2022. read more

The commission wanted to add more pump stations to the 570,000 barrel per day Illinois pipeline, according to Pipeline owners Energy Transfer ET.N and Dakota Access LLC.

In 2020, the commission approved adding pump stations that would boost the pipeline's capacity over the objections of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council.

The groups appealed to the appellate court, which returned the case to the commission for further consideration on Wednesday.

The commission needed to consider the public's need for the proposed improvement, but the court said the commission erroneously interpreted the public to mean the world, not the United States.

The court also found that the commission abused its discretion in finding irrelevant evidence that the operator of Sunoco SUN.N had been fined for safety and environmental violations.