A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Dakota Access pipeline must undergo a full environmental review, because the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it allowed the pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. At a lower court’s request, the Army Corps began a further environmental review of the pipeline in the fall of last year, and it is expected to be another 13 months before its completion. However, the appeals court did not rule that the pipeline must be shut down as the review is completed, instead leaving the decision about the pipeline’s continued operation up to the Army Corps. Last week, several Sioux leaders wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline.
“It’s time for the Biden administration to keep its promises to Indian country and shut down this illegal pipeline,” Earthjustice lawyer Jan Hasselman, who represents Standing Rock, told Bloomberg Law. “It never should have been authorized in the first place, and it cannot be allowed to operate for another day until these issues are fully resolved.”(The Hill, Bloomberg Law, AP, Bismarck Tribune, Grand Forks Herald, KXnet, Williston Herald)