Saturday, June 17, 2017

Environmental Impact Challenge To Dakota Access Pipeline Is Partially Successful

While in March a D.C. federal district court rejected a RFRA challenge by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to the Dakota Access Pipeline project (see prior posting), the same court has now held that the Army Corps of Engineers must reconsider portions of its environmental analysis of the project.  In a 91-page opinion in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (D DC, June 14, 2017), court held:
Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it 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.
To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.
Red Green and Blue reports on the decision.