Yesterday, a judge ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down for environmental review—and gave a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who has been protesting the pipeline and trying to educate the public on the public health and environmental problems it will cause. The date for the shut down is August 5th.
“Given the seriousness of the Corps’ NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates, the Court is forced to conclude that the flow of oil must cease,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in a 24-page order.
The findings may challenge the Trump administration’s goal to roll back environmental protections in the service of big business. The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The tribe draws its water from the river and fears pollution.
Starting in 2016, protests occurred during the construction of the pipeline. Rallying with the call the “water is life,” the Standing Rock protests drew support from the Obama administration and the Army Corps of Engineers reversed course. However, as soon as Donald Trump took office, he reversed Obama’s call. The tribe never gave up fighting, however, even pressing litigation against the pipeline after it began carrying oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.
“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,” said Chairman Mike Faith of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning.”
Lead image via Pax Ahimsa Gethen/Wikimedia.