Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said it’s still committed to completing the Dakota Access Pipeline after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement for project.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said the Army will “not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.”
Darcy said alternative routes for the pipeline will likley be explored through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.
The pipeline’s current proposed route would cross Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River.
Lake Oahe is located near the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.
The 470,000 barrel per day pipeline is operated by ETP.
In a statement, ETP and Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL) called the Army’s decision the latest in a “series of overt and transparent political actions” undertaken by the Obama administration.
SXL agreed last month to acquire ETP in a unit-for-unit transaction worth over $20 billion.
ETP and SXL said they are “fully committed” to ensuring the pipeline is completed and said they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.”
“Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way,” the companies added.
The Corps’ decision was made after Native American tribes expressed concerns that the project will impact nearby water supplies.
Earlier this year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers that claimed the Corps violated historic preservation and environmental laws when it approved the project.
A federal judge ruled in September that construction could continue after finding that the tribe did not demonstrate that work related to the project is “likely to cause damage.”
Despite the ruling, the Army Corps continued to halt construction on a stretch of pipeline at Lake Oahe pending a review.
Last week, president-elect Donald Trump voiced his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
According to a communications briefing seen by Reuters, Trump said support of the project was not related to any financial interest in ETP.
The Dakota Access pipeline will run about 1,172 miles and connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois.