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Energy & Environment

Court Rules Dakota Access Pipeline Must Be Emptied For Now

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to produce a full environmental review. Until then, oil must stop flowing through the controversial pipeline.


Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters, shown here during a demonstration in 2017, have opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline for years.

A federal judge has ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied for now while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers produces an environmental review.

In a decision posted Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that it was clear shutting down the pipeline will cause disruption. But he said “the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow” during the estimated 13 months it will take to complete the environmental impact statement.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies downstream of the pipeline, have been fighting against its construction for years.

Boasberg, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered the Corps in March to conduct a full environmental impact analysis. He said that the Corps had made a “highly controversial” decision in approving federal permits for the project. Among other things, he said the Corps had failed to answer major questions about the risks of oil spills.

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