In a great win for environmental activists everywhere, a federal judge has ruled the Trump administration violated federal law when it approved the Dakota Access Pipeline without doing a full environmental study. Tara Pilkington reports.
This week, a federal judge in Washington has ordered a complete shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline after ruling that the US government violated federal environmental law three years ago when it was built.
A long-awaited win for the Native American tribes who have fought the pipeline in court for years, this is a monumental victory and is a reflection of the hard work of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and other indigenous and environmental activists for their work.
History of the Pipeline
The Obama administration first paused the project in 2016 after thousands of Native Americans and environmental protesters held large demonstrations at the site near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. and who had lost when they tried to stop it from going online in the summer of 2017.
Demonstrators argued that the pipeline could cause serious environmental harm to Lake Oahe, a large lake that spans the border of North and South Dakota. However, the Trump administration reversed course and allowed construction to proceed.
US District Judge James Boasberg wrote earlier this week that even though a shutdown would likely have significant economic consequences, that there was no other option until the US Army Corps of Engineers completed a full Environmental Impact Statement. He also highlighted the “seriousness” of the agency’s violation and the potential environmental harm the pipeline posed while it carried oil in the meantime.
Mike Faith, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a statement: “Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline,”
He added: “This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning.”