A Federal judge set a briefing schedule to examine Energy Transfer's claim that granting the easement is a "ministerial' action and mandated since the company has the related permit." The company is building the pipeline in North Dakota, which despite having complied with all regulations has been blocked by the Army Corp of Engineers. Under the order, briefs from both sides will be complete by February 2017, after which the judge will make a decision. Lawyers for the pipeline have asked for an expedited decision, but the judge acknowledged that the company's challenge could be rendered moot following next month's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Energy Transfer partners have lost $450 million due to delays, and expect $80 million a month in losses from further delays.

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