Massive win for Native Americans as judge orders US oil pipeline shut
Washington - Native Americans fighting against an oil pipeline amid concerns over environmental damage were handed a victory on Monday by a federal court, which ordered the project be shut down by next month.
The federal government must now conduct a full analysis of the risks associated with the pipeline, which would then have to be subjected to judicial review, in a process that can take more than a year.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has been stuck in court for years as tribes worked to stop the project. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation became the scene of lengthy sit-ins and protests in 2016, including clashes with law enforcement.
Judge James Boasberg of the District Court of Washington DC scrapped a needed permit and ordered the pipeline shut down and emptied by August 5. A court had previously ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers flouted environmental rules in building the DAPL.
US President Donald Trump had pushed for the pipeline, including through executive action early in his presidency, reversing orders from the Obama-era which had halted work citing potential harm to the Missouri River are. This lead to legal action by local tribes.
"Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline," said Mike Faith, chairman of the tribe. "This pipeline should have never been built here."
The ruling comes a day after Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced they were abandoning an 8-billion-dollar energy project known as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through Appalachia, amid environmental pushback.dpa