Federal judge shuts down Dakota Access pipeline

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Little Bear, with the Lakota tribe, joined by people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on March 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C. A federal judge Monday ordered a new environmental review of the pipeline along with it to be shut down. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Little Bear, with the Lakota tribe, joined by people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on March 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C. A federal judge Monday ordered a new environmental review of the pipeline along with it to be shut down. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 6 (UPI) -- A federal judge ordered the shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline until an environmental review can be completed, handing a blow to the Trump administration and victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier in the year allowing for the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline after the Obama administration blocked it over environmental concerns.

The pipeline has long been contentious in North Dakota because of its closeness to tribal lands. Supporters touted its safety and that it would create jobs for the local community.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the pipeline must be closed within the next 30 days. He ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to re-examine the risks of the pipeline and prepare a full environmental impact statement.

"Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline," Mike Faith, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said in a statement. "This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning."

Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, which is representing the tribe, said the ruling is providing some justice for the group after four years of fighting.

"If the events of 2020 have taught us anything, it's that health and justice must be prioritized early on in any decision-making process if we want to avoid a crisis later on," Hasselman said.

The pipeline's owners, Texas-based Energy Transfer, has not immediately commented on the decision.

"The decision is likely to be enormously disruptive," Katie Bays, co-founder of Washington-based Sandhill Strategy LLC, noting it could take the Army Corps of Engineers 18 months to address problems in its environmental review.

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