Finally! A judge is ordering an environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This leaves several questions. The biggest one is whether the pipeline will remain open until the case is solved. Here are some questions and answers about the pipeline and the case.
What Is The Pipeline?
The $3.8 billion pipeline was built by the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. It transfers oil from North Dakota to Illinois, where it is then shipped to the Gulf Coast.
Why Is The Case Unresolved?
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on June 14 ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers “largely complied” with environmental law when permitting the pipeline. However, they didn’t consider how an oil spill would affect the hunting and fishing rights of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe nearby.
ABC News reports:
“In its analysis of the Missouri River crossing, the Corps studied the mostly white demographics in a half-mile (0.8-kilometer) radius, which the agency maintains is standard. But if the agency had gone another 88 yards (80 meters) — about the length of a football field — the study would have included the Standing Rock Reservation. The tribe accuses the Corps of gerrymandering.”
The Standing Rock tribe has hailed this as a win.
What Happens Now?
This may or may not affect the pipeline’s operations. It may be shut down at some point during this investigation. To shut down the pipeline, the investigation would have to disprove the Army Corps of Engineers’ permission to build the pipeline.
The tribes maintain that this requires a full environmental study. The Standing Rock tribe’s attorney, Jan Hasselman, said:
“In effect, it resets the clock to where we were last fall when we were pushing for (a full study) and asking for consideration of route alternatives. We’ll be doing that again.”
Connie Rogers, a Denver attorney who specializes in federal permits, natural resources, and Indian law, said:
“This could just be an issue that the Corps didn’t explain itself. They could do a supplemental (analysis) in a month or, if they actually did not analyze those things, it might take longer.”
“I think it’s going to come down to how confident is the Corps in its determination that there are no significant impacts.”
Here is a video explaining the controversy behind this pipeline (after the jump):
Featured image via Twitter.