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Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Judge Delivers Blow To Trump Administration In Dakota Access Fight

Judge Delivers Blow To Trump Administration In Dakota Access Fight

USA district judge James Boasberg said engineers did not consider how a potential oil spill might impact the environment, and fishing and hunting rights where the pipeline passes under the Missouri River.

In his 91-page opinion, Boasberg said the corps did many things properly when it came to evaluating the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline. That waterbody, created upon the erection of a Missouri River dam in 1958, spans the North and South Dakota border and touches both the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River reservations.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe's drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.

Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that sued to block the project previous year, said in a statement that his group will ask the judge to shut down the conduit immediately.

A spokeswoman for Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline's developer, didn't immediately respond to messages.

Earlier this month, the Iowa Utilities Board issued a reprimand against Dakota Access for failing to prove it holds at least US$25 million in general liability insurance coverage in case of spills and leaks. If the judge doesn't order the pipeline to be shut down then nothing has been accomplished other than yet another round of administrative reviews and business continues as usual.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington said the Army Corps did not adequately consider the effects of a possible oil spill on the fishing and hunting rights of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

The Tribe is represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, which filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the pipeline construction in violation of several environmental laws.

Shortly after entering office, President Donald Trump made clear he would do everything he could to ensure the $3.8 billion project moves forward.

Native Americans and their supporters protest in March outside of the White House against the construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Corps must now reconsider those aspects under the judge's demand that the agency substantiate its decision to issue the permits.

Unfortunately, despite the ruling, Boasberg did not require that the pipeline be shut down pending additional environmental reviews.

Built for transporting oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota to southern IL, the 1,172 mile long pipeline began delivery of crude oil between the two states in May.

Finally, the environmental-justice concerns raised by the tribe were also not adequately addressed, nor the highly controversial nature of the project. "Sometimes it takes many, many years and we don't want that to happen", Trump said at the time.

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