US Judge Rules Dakota Access Environmental Review Inadequate

US Judge Rules Dakota Access Environmental Review Inadequate

US Judge Rules Dakota Access Environmental Review Inadequate

In his 91-page decision, Boasberg wrote that although the Army Corps complied with the National Environmental Policy Act substantially, federal permits granted for the pipeline violated the law in some aspects.

A federal judge has handed a lifeline to efforts to block the pipeline, ruling Wednesday June 14, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn't adequately consider the possible impacts of an oil spill where the pipeline passes under the Missouri River.

U.S. District Court for the District of Columia Judge James Boasberg did not shut down the almost 1,200-mile-long pipeline but did say that he would consider that option after his decision.

His decision comes just two weeks after the Dakota Access pipeline went into service, moving crude 1,172 miles (1,886 kilometers) across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and IL.

"Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations" while the additional reviews are done "presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing", Boasberg ruled.

But the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes are fighting the project in federal court in Washington, D.C., and they've hailed Boasberg's ruling as a victory.

Archambault said in a statement that the previous administration has "painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline", while President Donald Trump's administration "hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests". That would mean scrapping the Army Corps permits and easement for the pipeline and forcing it shut down until the NEPA inadequacies are corrected.

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"I was hoping for something with teeth", said Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and lead counsel in a group defending Lakota rights.

A woman walking with a solidarity message during a rally with the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters in Toronto, Canada (November 5, 2016).

Energy Transfer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The permits were issued by the Trump administration just days after his inauguration. Hollywood celebrities including Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio flocked to the Standing Rock reservation to lend support. The first argued that "the grading and clearing of land for the pipeline threatened sites of cultural and historical significance", while the second contended that the oil in the pipeline under a lake significant to the tribe "would desecrate sacred waters and make it impossible for the Tribes to freely exercise their religious beliefs".

While acknowleging the ruling-which resulted from a lawsuit filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe-as a partial victory because the judge did not order the oil flow stopped, Native American tribes and activists across the country deemed it a substantial win nonetheless.

A police officer monitors the outskirts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, January 29, 2017.

Media quoted the legal representative of the plaintiffs as saying that they will demand the suspension of the pipeline while the Army Corps reviews its assessment.

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