Federal Judge Rules Against Trump With Pre-Election Rebuff


On Monday, a federal judge ordered the temporary shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial pipeline for transporting oil that runs through some of the Midwest and, crucially, crosses the Missouri River. Judge James Boasberg ordered the pipeline to be shut down while the Army Corps of Engineers prepares an environmental impact statement covering the ramifications of the pipeline’s crossing of the Missouri River. Authorities had previously relaxed rules that may have constricted pipeline construction, and at present, the Trump administration is actually trying to overturn some of those rules entirely, which are included in the National Environmental Policy Act, which demands environmental impact assessments like the Army Corps of Engineers ignored in the Dakota Access Pipeline case.

The Trump administration has supported the Dakota Access Pipeline for years. Boasberg’s ruling demands that the Dakota Access Pipeline gets shut down within 30 days in the wake of a previous ruling determining that authorities had violated environmental laws via forging ahead with the pipeline, a project to which President Donald Trump personally has offered his fervent support.

In his ruling, Boasberg wrote:

‘Clear precedent favoring vacatur during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the Corps believes the creation of an [environmental impact statement] will take.’

In other words — the seriousness of the situation demands the pipeline be shut down.

Way back towards the very beginning of his time in office, Trump signed a series of executive orders that were meant to speed up the completion of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. At the time, Trump specifically complained about the potentially lengthy process of review prior to the potential issuance of permits for construction.

He said:

‘I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist, I believe in it. But it’s out of control, and we’re going to make it a very short process. And we’re going to either give you your permits, or we’re not going to give you your permits. But you’re going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we’re going to be giving you your permits.’

In the time since, his agenda has faced numerous setbacks like the latest ruling from Judge Boasberg.