12:26 GMT24 January 2020
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    US Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact statement did not provide an adequate review of an oil spill on tribal lands, a US federal judge ruled.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A US federal judge ruled that the US Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental impact statement did not provide an adequate review of an oil spill on tribal lands, court documents stated.

    “The agency failed to adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on Standing Rock’s fishing and hunting rights and on environmental justice, and in February 2017, it did not sufficiently weight the degree to which the project’s effects are likely to be highly controversial in light of critiques of its scientific methods and data,” the document stated on Wednesday.

    Construction equipment sits near a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site off County Road 135 near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. on October 30, 2016
    © REUTERS / Josh Morgan/File Photo
    Despite the ruling, the court did not decide if Dakota Access will cease operations of the pipeline. The federal judge asked the court to schedule a briefing next week to decide what further action will take place.

    In a separate statement on Wednesday, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II described the ruling as a major victory.

    “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests,” Archambault stated. “We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.”

    The nearly 1,200-mile, $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline began full operation on June 1 to transport domestically produced light crude oil from the US state of North Dakota through the states of South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners, the developer behind Dakota Access, clashed with local tribes in legal battles and protests over environmental concerns.


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