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Judge Repeats: Trump Broke Law in Rushing Dakota Access Pipeline

Judge James Boasberg said it before; yesterday, he said it again: Donald Trump broke the law when he rushed the environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Day Five of his reign of error and authorized the completion of his former business chums‘ project:

The judge found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a “highly controversial” decision when it approved the federal permits for the project.

He ordered the agency to prepare a full environmental impact analysis, saying that it previously failed to answer major questions about the possibility of oil spills, among other concerns.

“The many commenters in this case pointed to serious gaps in crucial parts of the Corps’ analysis – to name a few, that the pipeline’s leak-detection system was unlikely to work, that it was not designed to catch slow spills, that the operator’s serious history of incidents had not been taken into account, that that the worst-case scenario used by the Corps was potentially only a fraction of what a realistic figure would be – and the Corps was not able to fill any of [the gaps in the analysis],” Boasberg stated [Merrit Kennedy, “Judge Orders Environmental Review of Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline,” NPR, 2020.03.25].

Energy Transfer Partners has been working on doubling the capacity of the Dakota Access pipeline to 1.1 million barrels a day. Now Judge Boasberg asked ETP and its opponents in the lawsuit to submit arguments on whether he should allow the Dakota Access pipeline to continue pumping over 500,000 barrels of oil across the prairie each day during the full environmental review.

(Maybe the judge should go to the root of the problem and order that Donald Trump stop his operations and undergo a full review.)

It’s possible that the judge could shut down Dakota Access and nobody would notice. Coronavirus and the Saudi-Russia price war have Bakken drillers scaling back production and North Dakota hurrying to issue waivers to allow producers to idle their oil wells for more than a year. Maybe ETP should look at the judge’s order and the real environmental review as an opportunity to give all of its workers (how many jobs, again, have they created in South Dakota?) a coronavirus vacation.


  1. Donald Pay 2020-03-26

    Shut it down!

  2. mike from iowa 2020-03-26

    drump’s activist wingnut SPOTUS will fast track a decision to keep pipeline running because that is what they were appointed to do. Especially the last two loozers.

  3. Debbo 2020-03-26

    Put all pipelines on hold till we see what’s going to happen after COVID-19.

    A GOP lying point is that Democrats have held up the rescue bill by insisting that green energy be part of the deal. Of course the GOP insisted on $ for their fossil fuel pals, but they omit that part.

  4. Debbo 2020-03-27

    If there is any relationship between COVID-19 and the environment, it seems the logical response would be to toughen environmental regulations. Probably why Insane Imbecile is not doing so.

  5. Debbo 2020-03-27

    Numlock News by Walt Hickey had this on electric cars:

    Currently, electric vehicles on average have a 31 percent emissions savings per kilometer. One nagging issue of the conversion to electric vehicles is that if you’re switching from a gas-powered automobile to an electric one, but the electricity is generated by, say, a coal plant, you’re not really making things much greener. A new study sought to analyze where in the world that would be a problem, and found that it’s largely not: in 53 of 59 different global regions, which represented 95 percent of road transportation and home heating, the grid was superior to the gas tank. For instance, Switzerland has a really clean energy generation system, while Estonia’s is powered mainly by burning oil shale, so an electric car in Estonia increases emissions by 40 percent compared to an internal combustion engine. The average break point was 1,000 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour, roughly the efficiency of an older, dirty coal plant, meaning that the main situation where an EV increases emissions is if you’re functionally charging it with coal, which is rare, but not as rare as it could be. Improvements in power mix in some specific countries — Japan, the Middle East, the U.S., India and China — will be important in keeping the ledger balanced.

    Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica

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