Judge: Redo part of analysis for Dakota Access pipeline

According to Earthjustice, United States District Judge James Boasberg found that "although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline's effects are likely to be highly controversial".

USA district judge James Boasberg said that the survey did not consider the effect an oil spill could have on the "fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, " of the river. The ruling comes less than a month since the start of operation of the pipeline.

They argue the pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River upstream from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, threatens water quality there.

This is the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's third attempt to block the pipeline through legal action.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, who has called for a full environmental impact statement, characterized the decision as a major victory.

The developer, Energy Transfer Partners, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thousands of people gathered in North Dakota for more than six months to protest the project, which was halted by the Obama administration for further review.

A federal judge has ruled that permits authorized by the Trump administration to fast-track the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline violated the law.

The controversial pipeline needed a final permit to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is part of the Missouri River.

Two previous arguments by the Standing Rock tribe - that the construction had threatened sacred sites, and that the presence of oil in the pipeline would damage sacred waters - had been rejected by the court.

The Court ruled against the Tribe on several other issues, finding that the reversal allowing the pipeline complied with the law in some respects.

The decision will turn on how disruptive turnoff would be, and the likelihood that the deficiencies in the Corps' review can be remedied, Boasberg wrote in his ruling. The $3.8 billion project has the capacity to pump as much as a half million barrels of oil per day from the shale oil basins in North Dakota. The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to IL where it links with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. No single spill was large enough to be considered "significant" by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, though pipeline protesters noted at the time that the leaks were merely a reminder of risks that communities near the pipelines face.

  • Zachary Reyes