Federal Judge: Environmental Law was Broken in Rushed Review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Federal Judge: Environmental Law was Broken in Rushed Review of Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Army Corps of Engineers, acting under directions from the Trump administration, violated the law when it approved the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on February 8.
That’s according to a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on June 14―two weeks after Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind DAPL, announced that the pipeline was fully operational.
According to Boasberg’s 91-page decision, the Corps “failed to adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on Standing Rock’s fishing and hunting rights and on environmental justice.” “This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault in a statement.
(Image: Wikipedia) The Standing Rock tribe initially argued that the clearing of land for the pipeline right-of-way would destroy sites of historical and religious importance to the Lakota people and so would violate the National Historic Preservation Act.
The Cheyenne River tribe contended that the flow of oil in the pipeline would desecrate the sacred waters of the Missouri River and so violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Judge Boasberg ruled against the tribes in both cases.
In this third and most recent attempt, the Standing Rock tribe argued that the Corps’ decision to permit the pipeline without conducting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—and this time the Court agreed, at least in part.
In doing so, Judge Boasberg ruled, the Corps was largely within the law.
Two, the Corps did not adequately address expert scientific criticisms of the agency’s oil spill risk analysis.