Court Finds That Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline To be Unlawful

Activism, Ecology and Environment, Indigenous Peoples, News

In a significant victory for the  Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Federal Judge James Boasberg has ruled that the federal permits that gave the go ahead for the DAPL pipeline to cross the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation, has violated the law in certain critical respects. The permits which were “hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration- violated the law in certain critical respects.”

Climate activists and various environmental groups along with several Indigenous communities have been protesting the build which would destroy the drinking water and ancestral lands of the Sioux.

As Reported By TheIndigenousAmericans.com:

In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests.

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 Tribe’s inspiring and courageous fight has attracted international attention and drawn the support of hundreds of tribes around the nation.

The Tribe is represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, which filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the pipeline construction in violation of several environmental laws.

“This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration—prompting a well-deserved global outcry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The federal courts have stepped in where our political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities.”

While the decision is a step in the right direction, the Court has found that the authorization was legal in some respects and that the issue of continuing the project still remains.

The Court ruled against the Tribe on several other issues, finding that the reversal allowing the pipeline complied with the law in some respects.

The $3.8 billion pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, extends 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it links with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.

What do you think the ultimate outcome of the DAPL will be? Do you think that environmental and social well-being for the greater good will prevail for once? Or do you think that like as so often happens- profits over people will be the conclusion to this saga? Have your voice heard in the comments below.

(Article By Tasha Sharifa)

 

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