Judge rules Dakota Access study can move forward

Judge rules Dakota Access study can move forward
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A federal judge on Wednesday allowed a potentially lengthy environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward over objections from the pipeline’s developer. 

Energy Transfer Partners had asked judge James Boasberg to block an Environmental Impact Statement review of the pipeline while its lawsuit over the pipeline project moves forward. 

The Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday began the process of assessing the 1,170-mile pipeline’s impact on the environment in North Dakota, a study that could take years to finish.  

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When Obama administration officials in December said they would not issue an easement to construct a crucial stretch of the project, they said they would conduct an assessment of the pipeline’s impact on North Dakota’s Lake Oahe instead. 

Dakota Access backers slammed that decision and instead said the government should issue the easement and allow construction under the lake, one of the last steps needed to complete the $3.8 billion project. 

Opponents of the pipeline, which include the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is near the pipeline’s route, cheered the decision to delay the project. They protested against the project for months, saying it threatens local drinking water supplies and important cultural sites in North Dakota. 

Thousands of people formed a camp on the North Dakota prairie to protest the pipeline. Most left after the Obama administration’s December decision, but some stayed and have clashed with law enforcement in the area. Sixteen people have been arrested this week, bringing the total to more than 600 since August, the Fargo Forum reports

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE has opposed efforts to slow down the Dakota Access project.