USA: Court rules Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied, citing need for environmental impact analysis
"Court Rules Dakota Access Pipeline Must Be Emptied For Now," 6 Jul 2020
A federal judge has ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied for now while the Army Corps of Engineers produces an environmental review.
In a decision posted Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that it was clear shutting down the pipeline will cause disruption. But he said that "the seriousness of the Corps' deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow" during the estimated 13 months it will take to complete the environmental impact statement.
The court vacated the Corps' decision to grant federal approval for the project, and will require the pipeline to be emptied within 30 days.
Boasberg, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered the Corps in March to conduct a full environmental impact analysis. He said that the Corps had made a "highly controversial" decision in approving federal permits for the project. Among other things, he said the Corps had failed to answer major questions about the risks of oil spills.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream of the pipeline, have been fighting against its construction for years. Crude oil began flowing through the pipeline in 2017. The $3.8 billion pipeline stretches more than 1,100 miles from North Dakota to Illinois, transporting 570,000 barrels of oil per day...
The pipeline company, Energy Transfer, called the decision "ill-thought-out" and said that the crude will now be transported by rail instead, increasing environmental risks to counties along the transport corridors.