A surprising court ruling could ‘reset the clock’ on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, waits to give his speech against the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipeline during the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 20, 2016.
Denis Balibouse/Reuters Despite the controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, it commenced operations on June 1 under an executive order from Donald Trump.
But many members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe say the pipeline, which snakes through their only water source, is a death sentence.
To Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the $3.8 billion project, it’s a necessary part of the US energy network.
In a ruling issued June 14, Judge James Boasberg said that the agency in charge of the pipeline didn’t adequately consider some matters important to the Standing Rock tribe, such as how an oil spill might affect the tribe’s fishing and hunting rights, and whether the tribe would be disproportionately affected by a leak.
Legal battle In July of last year, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers claming that the legal and environmental review process for the pipeline was rushed and undertaken largely without the tribe’s input.
Judge Boasberg’s recent ruling appears to lend some support to that claim, but he also determined that the agency "largely complied" with environmental law when approving the pipeline.
Jan Hasselman, an attorney for Standing Rock, told the Associated Press that Boasber’s decision is enough to "reset the clock to where we were last fall," when the tribe demanded a comprehensive environmental study of the pipeline and asked the Army Corps of Engineers to consider alternate routes that would not threaten their water supply.
Energy Transfer Partners said in a statement to AP that it believed the Corps "properly evaluated both" of the issues that Judge Boasberg said were not adequately addressed, including how an oil spill might affect the Tribe.
"If this leaks, it is going to spill into the river.

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