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Dakota Access pipeline staves off shutdown order once again

WASHINGTON -- The Dakota Access oil pipeline again staved off what would have been an unprecedented shutdown, with a court ruling that the Trump administration has to decide whether the conduit can operate while a more robust review is done.

Judges said Wednesday that they expect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify in front of a federal district court whether the agency thinks the pipeline must shut after a key permit was vacated in July. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit buys pipeline operator Energy Transfer LP some time after the July 6 shutdown order rocked the industry.

The oil industry has been watching the Dakota Access case with bated breath. Pipeline operators and developers are increasingly losing legal battles over key permits, but the Dakota Access order marked the first time a federal court told a major crude pipeline to shut due to violations of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Dakota Access has been in service for three years after drawing months of on-the-ground protests during its construction near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The district court's July decision said the Army Corps of Engineers violated NEPA when it approved a key permit for the pipeline, ordering the project to shut down while the agency conducts a more robust review.

-- Bloomberg News


Maryland Gov. Hogan ends tenure as head of nation's governors; Cuomo takes reins

BALTIMORE -- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ended his yearlong tenure as head of the National Governors Association on Wednesday, passing the torch to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As chairman of the group, Hogan, a Republican, acted as a de facto spokesperson for the nation's governors during the coronavirus pandemic, appearing regularly on cable TV shows.

It was during an NGA event in Washington in February that Hogan arranged for the governors to be briefed on the coronavirus by top federal health officials. Hogan has said that briefing led him to expand the state's planning for the virus.


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