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posted by martyb on Monday June 19 2017, @11:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the considering-the-other-side dept.

AlterNet reports

A federal judge ruled [June 14] that the Trump administration must conduct additional environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, handing a limited victory to Native American tribes fighting the administration's decision to move forward with the project.

In an extensive opinion,[PDF][1] Washington, DC District Court Judge James Boasberg sided with the tribes by agreeing the Army Corps of Engineers "did not consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, human rights, or environmental justice."

[...] Boasberg did not order a shutdown of operations on the pipeline, which began pumping oil early this month. The tribes and pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners are ordered to appear in court next week to decide next legal steps, and the tribes are expected to argue for a full shutdown of pipeline operations.

[1] Link in article redirects.

Previous coverage:
Dakota Access Pipeline Suffers Oil Leak Even Before Becoming Operational
Recent News Dispatches From Standing Rock (DAPL)
Army Corp of Engineers Now Accepting Public Comment on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Army Corps of Engineers Blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline
Standing Rock Protester May Lose Her Arm Because of Police Grenades
Water Cannons Used in Sub-Freezing Temperatures at Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Protest
Standing Rock Protestors Gassed and Attacked; Bundy Gang Acquitted [Updated]
Journalist Charged in North Dakota with Rioting; Case is Dismissed


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  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Monday June 19 2017, @12:36PM (7 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19 2017, @12:36PM (#527870) Homepage Journal

    I didn't read the whole opinion, but just picked one of the issues to look at: "environmental justice". I expect this section is typical of the rest of the document. First, the undisputed facts:

    - The government is required to consider whether or not there is a disproportionate environmental impact on minority populations (including tribes) in the designated area.

    - The designated area is typically 0.5 miles around the area being considered, in this case, the boreholes where the pipeline goes underground and re-emerges above ground by a small lake.

    - The tribal lands are 0.55 miles away from the nearest borehole.

    The tribe claims that the 0.5 mile zone is arbitrary; that the government could have extended it to include the tribal lands, which would have lead to a different analysis. While this is obviously true, it is equally obvious that the borehole sites will have been deliberately chosen to be outside of this range, precisely to avoid problems with the tribe.

    The judge goes through quite some contortions, in order to find fault with this. For example: "The EA is silent, for instance, on the distinct cultural practices of the Tribe and the social and economic factors that might amplify its experience of the environmental effects of an oil spill."

    WTF? How are you supposed to objectively analyze the cultural effects of an oil spill? Seems to me that the judge is deliberately handing the government an impossible task. Which makes me think that this is a partisan decision.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19 2017, @01:26PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19 2017, @01:26PM (#527887)

    You are absolutely correct. The Trump haters (and I did not vote for him) are irrational. They have let their blind hatred of what they think he represents to cloud their judgment of everything (they think) he stands for. The plain letter text of law is being contorted to suit their own prejudices. It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't primarily coming from the oh-so-tolerant left.

    And this is coming from a Classic Liberal! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by arulatas on Monday June 19 2017, @02:48PM (4 children)

      by arulatas (3600) on Monday June 19 2017, @02:48PM (#527927)

      The problem with your logic is that many had issues with this process before Trump was even involved.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19 2017, @04:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19 2017, @04:29PM (#527988)

        Woah woah woah, you can't just call out their psychological projection like that. They hated Obama so much and attacked him for being bla.. ahem, "liberal" and now they naturally assume their opponents are doing the same thing with Trump. Reason has left these mad men! Let sleeping dogs lie or they'll wake up and shit all over your shoes.

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday June 19 2017, @06:06PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday June 19 2017, @06:06PM (#528062) Journal

        The problem with your logic is that many had issues with this process before Trump was even involved.

        Hmm...I wonder if those issues could have prevented the issuance of the original permits?

        And then, when word came down to approve no matter what, I wonder if they ensured those issues were resolved?

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday June 23 2017, @12:55AM (1 child)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 23 2017, @12:55AM (#529735) Journal

        The problem with your logic is that many had issues with this process before Trump was even involved.

        I'll note here the judge was involved solely due to Trump's involvement.

        • (Score: 2) by arulatas on Friday June 23 2017, @12:57PM

          by arulatas (3600) on Friday June 23 2017, @12:57PM (#529990)

          Fair point. I just wanted to point out that not everyone who had issues with the pipeline had Trump anywhere in that decision.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by tonyPick on Monday June 19 2017, @02:11PM

    by tonyPick (1237) on Monday June 19 2017, @02:11PM (#527909) Homepage Journal

    The judge goes through quite some contortions, in order to find fault with this.

    Really? Having had a quick spin through that section I'm not seeing contortions - the 0.5 mile buffer isn't a standard used in any other oil pipelines (it's apparently the value you'd use for bridge construction and traffic widening), and the SR folks point to other oil pipeline projects that use much much higher buffer ranges (14 and 40 miles downstream for water contamination) as standard.

    Following that it doesn't seem a stretch to say that the value chosen is unusually low, to try to avoid having to consider the tribal lands, and that they needed to be considered.

    How are you supposed to objectively analyze the cultural effects of an oil spill?

    well, from the actual report:

    Standing Rock provides one such example in its briefing: many of its members fish, hunt, and gather for subsistence. See SRST MSJ at 41. Losing the ability to do so
    could seriously and disproportionately harm those individuals relative to those in nearby non- tribal communities.
    The Corps need not necessarily have addressed that particular issue, but it needed to offer more than a bare-bones conclusion that Standing Rock would not be disproportionately harmed by a spill.

    This doesn't sound particularly contorted to me...