Maxwell Bernstein | July 8, 2020
Since 2016, protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have ensued because of its less-than a mile proximity to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, which sits on the North and South Dakota borders, according to ABC News. The pipeline could potentially spill oil into the nearby Missouri River, which the Tribe relies on for fishing, clean water, and water ceremonies.
A district court ordered for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to be emptied of oil by Aug. 5 in order to let the Army Corps of Engineers conduct an environmental impact review, which is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation, as reported by The New York Times and Iowa Environmental Focus.
The 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline is an underground pipeline that was initially rejected by the Obama administration in 2016, but has transported oil since 2017, according to The Guardian. The pipeline starts from North Dakota where it travels through South Dakota and Iowa and ends up in Illinois.
James E. Boasberg, the federal judge of the District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that the pipeline’s construction fell short of environmental standards, according to the BBC. The pipeline could potentially continue operations after the Army Corp of Engineer’s environmental impact review is completed.
Earthjustice, the non-profit that represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, called this environmental impact review a victory for the Tribe, the organization said in a public statement.
“The shutdown will remain in place pending completion of a full environmental review, which normally takes several years, and the issuance of new permits. It may be up to a new administration to make final permitting decisions,” Earthjustice said.
This comes after the Trump administration’s attempts to ease the way for business by enacting changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the law that has since 1970 assessed environmental effects of public projects, according to the Associated Press.