Energy Transfer files lawsuit to complete Dakota Access Pipeline

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit asking for federal court intervention to finish building the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline without final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The court filing comes just after the Army Corp said Monday it wants to have more communication with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that argues its sacred sites and water are affected by the $3.8 billion oil pipeline project.

The news comes as environmentalists are planning worldwide protests on Tuesday, including outside of Energy Transfer’s downtown Houston office. Protesters also gathered Tuesday outside of Energy Transfer Chairman and Chief Executive Kelcy Warren’s gated Dallas mansion.

The pipeline already is mostly completed, but was awaiting a final easement from the Corps to extend the pipeline on federal land beneath Lake Oahe along the Missouri River.

Warren blames President Barack Obama’s intervention for the delays, arguing that the Corps would have already granted the easement without the “political interference” and the administration’s “flagrant disregard for the rule of law.” The company has “waited long enough,” Warren said Tuesday.

The continued review is occurring under the Obama administration, even though President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to speed up such regulatory processes.

The Justice Department and the Army Corps declined comment Tuesday.