Court orders added review; pipeline can still operate for now

The Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider all of the potential impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline, a federal court ruled today.

In a much-anticipated decision released tonight, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Army Corps to reconsider sections of its environmental assessment for the contentious oil pipeline, which is now shipping crude from North Dakota to Illinois.

"Although the Corps substantially complied with [the National Environmental Policy Act] 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," Judge James Boasberg wrote.

The pipeline can continue operating for now. Boasberg noted that "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."

The decision is a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which have been challenging the pipeline in court since last summer. The project crosses a section of the Missouri River a half-mile north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

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