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General News    H2'ed 12/9/16

Fate of Dakota Access Pipeline Remains in Limbo Over Missing Documents

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The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline is not over yet. Lawyers for Energy Transfer Partners requested that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issue a ruling at a hearing scheduled Friday morning that would allow the company to complete the project. On Monday, December 5, papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. stated delays have cost the company $450 million.

In a separate filing December 7, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) requested a summary be added to the Friday status conference. "The administrative record remains incomplete, as there are approximately 30 documents that still have not been produced. The Tribes stand ready to work with the other parties to resolve any outstanding disputes over confidentiality."

CRST has a legal leg to stand on. The December 4 ruling by Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy, withholding the easement for Energy Transfer Partners to drill under Lake Oahe, makes it clear that documents have been withheld from the public record.

In Section 5 she writes:

"Because of Security concerns and sensitivities, several documents supporting the environmental assessment were marked confidential and withheld from the public or representatives and experts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. These documents include a North Dakota Lake Oahe Spill Model Discussion prepared by the Wood Group Mustang, the Lake Oahe Risk HDD Risk Analysis Report, and the DAPL-Route Comparison and Environmental Justice Considerations Memorandum."

Common sense suggests that documents are withheld only if they damage the argument of the Defendant, in this case the Army Corps of Engineers, and by proxy, DAPL interests.

A review of the timeline of the lawsuit is helpful in this complicated case.

July 27- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) files a compliant for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the Corps regarding halting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

August 19-The Court orders that The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's Motion to Intervene (join the lawsuit) is granted.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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