Anti-pipeline activists were dealt a blow Wednesday after a federal judge decided the Dakota Access Pipeline can continue transporting oil during an environmental review of the multi-billion project.
Judge James Boasberg will not vacate a previous permit while regulators conduct a new environmental review into the 1,170-mile pipeline. He decided in June that the original Army Corps of Engineer review of the project was insufficient and needed to be redone.
Boasberg, who has made several rulings on the so-called DAPL throughout the past year, noted in a memo that the pipeline can continue operating because the review’s deficiencies “are not fundamental or incurable flaws.” He also expressed frustration with the topsy-turvy nature of the pipeline fight.
“The dispute over the Dakota Access Pipeline has now taken nearly as many twists and turns as the 1,200-mile pipeline itself,” he wrote in the 28-page memo announcing the decision. Supporters of the project, meanwhile, championed Boasberg’s move to keep the multi-state pipeline online
“While, we have little doubt that those who oppose this lawfully permitted project will continue their legal efforts to shut down the line, we’re heartened that we are one step closer to finality,” Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Today’s ruling is not only a win for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but also for all major interstate infrastructure projects currently under construction or consideration,” he said, adding that the judge found the Army Corp’s review process has been sufficient, despite a few hiccups.
DAPL drew the ire of out-of-state protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux, an American Indian tribe in North Dakota whose members sued to block completion of a small section of the line near the reservation.
Activists believe the pipeline’s construction trampled on tribal lands and could poison the tribe’s waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. Boasberg noted Wednesday that part of the original permitting decision that cleared the way for the pipeline was inadequate, as the tribes had insisted.
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