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US judge orders suspension of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

US judge orders suspension of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

A US judge has ordered the suspension of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, amid concerns over its environmental impact, the media reported today.

Yesterday, federal judge James E Boasberg, sitting at the District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that the construction of the pipeline had fallen short of environmental standards, reports the BBC.

It therefore needed to undergo a more thorough environmental review than had been conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers before it could be allowed to continue working, he said.

The process is expected to take 13 months, according to the Financial Times.

"Given the seriousness of the Corps' Nepa (National Environmental Policy Act) error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates, the Court is forced to conclude that the flow of oil must cease," Judge Boasberg's ruling added.

The $3.7 billion 1,900 km-long pipeline, completed in 2017, can transport some 570,000 barrels of crude oil a day across four states, from North Dakota to a terminal in Illinois, where it can be shipped to refineries.

Monday's order is a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has led the fight against the pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters argued the project – which passed just north of the tribe's reservation – would contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites.

The BBC quoted Chairman Mike Faith, of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as saying it was a "historic day" for all those who had fought the pipeline.

"This pipeline should have never been built here," he said. "We told them that from the beginning.".