Trump admin rejects environmental concerns over Dakota Access pipeline
The Trump administration cleared the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Friday, saying that further environmental review didn’t bring up any new concerns.
The Army Corps of Engineers said it completed the new analysis more than a year after a court ordered the review after American Indian tribes and environmentalists sued to shut the project down.
The agency, which was responsible for approving the pipeline’s crossing of various waterways, quoted on Friday Washington, D.C., federal Judge James Boasberg’s June 2017 ruling that ordered the review.
Army Corps of Engineers said it completed an “analysis of available information and considered materials in the administrative record and has fully considered ‘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.’”
“The Corps’ review on remand did not reveal ‘significant new circumstance[s] or information relevant to environmental concerns,’” the agency said, quoting from the statute for environmental reviews.
Boasberg’s decision last year was a victory for opponents of Dakota Access, a project that the Obama administration had tried to hold up amid high-profile protests, including the creation of a protest camp near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Indian Reservation that was used for months.
President Trump directed the Army Corps to issue the pipeline’s final permits shortly after taking office in January 2017.
While Boasberg did not order the pipeline — which had started operation by that point — to shut down, his ruling nonetheless opened the door to a potential shutdown or changes to its operation.
But Friday’s filing, for the time being, puts that possibility to rest.
The Army Corps’s Friday filing included a brief, three-page memo laying out its conclusion. It said it prepared a more lengthy analysis, which is undergoing review for potential redactions before it can be released.