Energy Transfer says Dakota pipeline to keep running during legal challenge

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and Indigenous leaders participate in a protest march and rally in opposition to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines in Washington, U.S., March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Energy Transfer said on Wednesday it will continue to operate the Dakota Access oil pipeline while it challenges a court ruling this week ordering it to shut and empty the duct, the largest line out of North Dakota’s shale basin.

“We have not yet taken any steps to begin shutting down the line,” spokeswoman Vicki Granado said. “To be clear, we have not suggested that we would defy a court order. Rather, DAPL is seeking appropriate relief from that order through the established legal process.”

A U.S. court on Monday ordered the 570,000 barrel-per-day pipeline to stop operations and empty out within 30 days, after finding fault with one of its environmental permits. A judge later denied an emergency request from Energy Transfer for the court to reconsider its ruling, court records showed on Tuesday.

Energy Transfer told customers in an email that it has not taken any steps to begin winding down flows on the line and said it believed the judge who ordered the shutdown over-reached his authority, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The company is also accepting nominations for crude volumes for the month of August, a sign it does not expect to have to cease operations, the sources said.

Native American tribes led by the Standing Rock Sioux and environmental groups protested DAPL’s construction because a portion of the pipeline runs beneath South Dakota’s Lake Oahe.

Reporting by Laila Kearney and Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler