UPDATE 2-U.S. judge orders oil-spill response plan for Dakota Access Pipeline

(Adds details in paragraphs 4-6, comment from judge in paragraph 7) WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (Reuters) – A federal judge ordered Energy Transfer Partners LP to coordinate with local tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers to create an oil-spill response plan for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline by next April, a decision he said will allow oil to keep flowing and prevent spills.
The order on Monday by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg came nearly six months after he ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers review of the project, which transports oil from North Dakota near Native American reservations to Illinois, was inadequate before it granted federal permits.
In October the judge ruled that crude oil can continue to flow through the 1,170-mile North Dakota-to-Illinois pipeline while the review is conducted.
He asked the company to begin submitting bi-monthly reports later this month on safety conditions at the Lake Oahe pipeline crossing, the center of months of anti-pipeline protests last year.
The order met the requests of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to get an independent, third-party auditor to share data obtained during the review.
"Although the Court is not suggesting that a similar leak is imminent at Lake Oahe, the fact remains that there is an inherent risk with any pipeline," Boasberg wrote in his eight-page order.
The Native Indian tribes have said the pipeline would desecrate sacred grounds and a spill could contaminate drinking water.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe) Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc.
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