Jan Hasselman, the EarthJustice attorney representing Standing Rock and other tribes who have signed onto the lawsuit, said Energy Transfer is “playing a pretty dangerous game” by not draining the pipeline immediately.
Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said the pipeline likely would have to be shut down promptly to meet the judge’s deadline. The pipeline holds about 5 million barrels of oil when full. The oil moves only at the speed of a “brisk walking pace,” Kringstad added.
Oil producers, meanwhile, are scrambling to ensure their product gets to market, either on other pipelines or by rail, Kringstad said.
“This is deeply problematic for everybody,” he said.
Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, said his group that represents several hundred companies working in North Dakota’s oil patch believe Energy Transfer has valid legal arguments to keep the line flowing.
“Everybody is hoping they are right but everybody is looking at alternatives,” Ness said. “When you are a producer, you got to make sure you got a place for your oil to go and producers are scrambling to alter their plans. It’s a bad deal all the way around.”
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Read More: Dakota pipeline still moving oil despite shutdown order | State & Regional