Standing Rock Sioux claim win in latest pipeline ruling

A federal judge sided with the Standing Rock Sioux and against the Dakota Access Pipeline in a ruling Wednesday that reprimanded the pipeline project for inadequate environmental review.

Leon Clarke | Jun 16, 2017

   

A federal judge sided with the Standing Rock Sioux and against the Dakota Access Pipeline in a ruling Wednesday that reprimanded the pipeline project for inadequate environmental review. Tribe spokespersons celebrated the verdict as a "victory" and a "vindication, " although the court ruling will not put a stop to further pipeline development.

James Boasberg, a judge with the District of Columbia district court, faulted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in his ruling, in which he wrote that the agency had failed to properly assess the impacts of the pipeline on fishing, hunting, and the natural ecosystems. He ordered it to undertake a new environmental impact review.

Boasberg did not, however, order the Corps to halt pipeline construction pending the new review. He will merely have the attorneys appear before him again and justify their case for the ongoing pipeline development.

But Jan Hasselman, an attorney who is representing the tribe, said that the tribe will demand that the judge order the pipe to be shut off in the interim next week. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II echoed his shutoff call in a press statement: "We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the court to shut down pipeline operations immediately."

The Obama administration had put the pipeline construction on hold in December while an environmental assessment was under way. Construction resumed in March, when the Corps called off the assessment and granted a final easement for construction across Corps-owned land and a dammed section of the Missouri River. This easement came about at the urging of the Trump White House.

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