Federal judge strikes down DAPL permits
A federal court on Wednesday granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down federal permits for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
The court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it affirmed federal permits for the pipeline originally issued in 2016. Specifically, the court found significant unresolved concerns about the potential impacts of oil spills and the likelihood that one could take place.
The court criticized the Corps for failing to address the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s expert criticism of its analysis, citing issues like potential worst case discharge, the difficulty of detecting slow leaks and responding to spills in winter. Similarly, the court observed that DAPL’s parent company’s abysmal safety record “does not inspire confidence,” finding that it should have been considered more closely.
The court ordered the Corps to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline, something that the tribe had sought from the beginning of this controversy.
“After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”