Oil could begin flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline “sometime this week,” the company’s developers said in a court filing Monday night.
The two-page filing with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — a weekly update on the project’s status ordered by a judge in February — was mostly redacted due to “recent coordinated physical attacks along the pipeline that pose threats to life, physical safety, and the environment,” the document said.
But the company’s lawyers told the judge any potential violence “will not stop” work to put oil into the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners “now believes that oil may flow sometime this week.”
Oil entering the pipeline will be a significant milestone in the saga surrounding Dakota Access, a 1,172-mile project stretching from North Dakota to Illinois with a daily capacity of 570,000 barrels of oil.
Two Native American tribes are still fighting the project on environmental and cultural grounds and have asked a federal judge to rule on the validity of the permits issued to build it. An appeals court this weekend rejected the tribes’ emergency request to halt work on the project.
One of the tribes, the Cheyenne River Sioux, on Monday said it would crowdsource funds from supporters to keep its legal fight up and running.
Developers and the federal government said they followed the law — and were deferential to the tribes — during the permitting and construction of the the pipeline. The company has said it will begin operating the pipeline as soon as its route is completed.