Oil Flows at Standing Rock Despite Pending Legal Ruling and Pipeline Spills*Tweet
June 6th, 2017 – On the same day President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, oil began flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline.
The following is an update from Earthjustice, the Tribe’s legal representatives, on the pipeline, spills and the Tribe’s legal battle.*
I’m reaching out on behalf of Earthjustice and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to touch base on what’s happening with the Dakota Access oil pipeline at Standing Rock, where the oil is expected to start flowing today. We’ve been working on our court case and expect a federal judge to soon rule on our request that the pipeline be halted and the Trump administration’s approval be thrown out.
Multiple oil spills have already occurred along the pipeline in South Dakota, and another Energy Transfer Partner’ pipeline suffered two spills in Ohio in April of more than 2 million gallons of drilling fluid.
Even though the oil started flowing before the court rules, the judge still has the power to halt it. The spills raise a red flag particularly when there is no emergency spill plan yet in place for Standing Rock and they’re not required to have equipment to deal with a spill on location for a year!
Our ongoing lawsuit before the DC Circuit Court in Washington, D.C. says it’s illegal for the pipeline to operate for three reasons:
1) The law requires a full, transparent and public environmental review for any federal action that has “significant” environmental effects.
2) The Trump administration ignored the treaty rights of the tribe that prohibit the federal government and its agencies from taking any federal action that harms the Standing Rock reservation or the water in the Missouri River on which the people of Standing Rock depend.
3) There are limits on the extent to which one administration can reverse the decisions of its predecessor. The courts will set aside reversals that are not fully justified and explained.
Senior Press Secretary
“Now that the Dakota Access Pipeline is fully operational, we find it more urgent than ever that the courts and administration address the risks posed to the drinking water of millions of American citizens.
This pipeline became operational today, yet it has already leaked at least 3 times. This is foreboding as the company does not yet have a plan in place to address how they would contain and clean a serious spill.
We will continue to battle the operation of this pipeline in court and remind everyone that just because the oil is flowing now doesn’t mean that it can’t be stopped. The courts can stop it by demanding that the administration be held accountable for the full Environmental Impact Statement it initiated and then abandoned.” ~Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, Dave Archambault II