Politics

Federal Judge Steps in and Delivers Historic Setback to Trump Agenda

Donald Trump’s beloved Dakota Access pipeline looks like it is facing some new legal trouble.

Federal Judge James Boasberg ruled this week that the environmental impact study before approving construction for the project was not adequate. The study included looking how hunting and fishing rights might be affected by an oil spill, but Boasberg said this study was insufficient. 

Although Boasberg ruled the environmental impact study as inadequate and said a new study must be done, the pipeline will not be shut down in the meantime. The ruling was good news but it seems as though it will not be a complete win for the Standing Rock Sioux.

‘“This is a a very significant victory and vindication of the tribe’s opinion,” said Jan Hasselman, the lead attorney for the case and an employee of Earthjustice, an environmental-advocacy group that represented the Standing Rock Sioux.’

Donald Trump has been a proponent of the pipeline, which is not surprising given his dangerous stance on environmental issues.

The Atlantic reports:

A federal judge ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Wednesday, handing the tribe its first legal victory in its year-long battle against the Dakota Access pipeline.

James Boasberg, who sits on D.C. district court, said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to perform an adequate study of the pipeline’s environmental consequences when it first approved its construction. In a 91-page decision, the judge cited the Corps’ study of “the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice” as particularly deficient, and he ordered it to prepare a new report on its risks.

The court did not, however, order the pipeline to be shut off until a new environmental study is completed—a common remedy when a federal permit is found lacking. Instead, Boasberg asked attorneys to appear before him again and make a new set of arguments about whether the pipeline should operate.

The tribe faces a mixed result: The ruling may establish some important precedents, particularly around environmental justice and treaty rights. But there’s no indication that the requirement to perform a new study will alter the outcome of the case—or even get the pipeline switched off in the interim.

It is ridiculous that the pipeline will not be shut off while a new environmental study is being completed.

The pipeline should be shut down once and for all. Hopefully this is a step in that direction.

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