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Court upholds order for Dakota Access pipeline environmental review

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the ruling of a district judge who ordered a full environmental impact review of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Following a complaint by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in April 2020 that a more extensive review was necessary than the one already conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile (1,886 kilometer) pipeline crosses beneath the Missouri River, just north of the the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. The tribe, which draws its water from the river, says it fears pollution.

Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit does not require the pipeline to stop operating or be emptied of oil.

The Dakota Access pipeline was the subject of months of sometimes violent protests in 2016 and 2017 during its construction. The tribe continued its legal challenges against the pipeline even after it began carrying oil from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois in June 2017.