Federal Judge: Public Has No Right To Know About Dakota Pipeline Spill Risks

Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s developer, has argued that keeping information regarding spill risks from the public is essential, as it could be “useful to vandals and terrorists.” However, the move is looking more like a way to hide any potential negative impact on the environment.

America Indians and their supporters protest outside of the White House, Friday, March 10, 2017, in Washington, to rally against the construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline. ( AP/Jose Luis Magana)

America Indians and their supporters protest outside of the White House, Friday, March 10, 2017, in Washington, to rally against the construction of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline. ( AP/Jose Luis Magana)

MINNEAPOLIS– While the fight to prevent the controversial construction of the Dakota Access pipeline has largely faded from the minds of most Americans, the pipeline’s parent company – Energy Transfer Partners – is still hard at work seeking to further undermine civilian and environmental protections to ensure the “smooth” operation of their $3.8-billion-investment in the project.

In spite of long-standing concerns that the pipeline could threaten the safety of drinking water for 17 million people, a federal judge has now given Energy Transfer Partners legal permission to hide information about which areas of the pipeline are at risk for spills.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that information regarding these risks should be shielded from public view, but added that Energy Transfer Partners must make public certain details related to spill response measures, as well as the names of waterways that could be affected.

Energy Transfer Partners previously argued in court that keeping such information private was essential, as it could be “useful to vandals and terrorists” or others “with malicious intent to damage the pipeline.” The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux indigenous American tribes, whose primary water sources are directly threatened by the pipeline, have argued that the disclosure of such information is essential, as it would strengthen their call for a more extensive environmental review of the project.

Boasberg rejected the tribes’ arguments, stating “the asserted interest in limiting intentionally inflicted harm outweighs the tribes’ generalized interests in public disclosure and scrutiny,” despite that fact that pipeline safety experts have repeatedly found the environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline to have been “seriously deficient.”

This latest court case mirrors the back-and-forth that took place between Energy Transfer Partners and indigenous tribes last year, resulting in an intense public protest where indigenous people were supported by environmental and social justice groups. Encampments were formed in areas where the pipeline was set to cross under the Missouri River, with the intention of preventing the pipeline’s full completion and forcing the company to reroute the pipeline around the primary water source for the Sioux and millions of others who rely on the river for drinking water.

Protesters gather at an encampment on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, a day after tribal leaders received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that told them the federal land would be closed to the public on Dec. 5, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The protesters said Saturday that they do not plan to leave and will continue to oppose construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (AP photo/James MacPherson)

Protesters gather at an encampment on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, a day after tribal leaders received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that told them the federal land would be closed to the public on Dec. 5, near Cannon Ball, N.D. (AP/James MacPherson)

These camps united the tribes, military veterans and foreign activists, but were met with opposition by private security officers hired by Energy Transfer Partners, as well as state police. By the time this latest court hearing was under way, 750 anti-pipeline protesters had been arrested.

The Obama administration had attempted to calm the situation by issuing “voluntary” injunctions on the pipeline’s construction, but since these injunctions were not legally binding, construction continued anyway, allowing the full blame for the advancement of the project to be placed on Trump, a strong advocate for the fossil fuel industry. Trump had between $500,000 and $1 million invested in Energy Transfer Partners in 2015, which many took as a conflict of interest, considering the controversial nature of the issue. Trump did, however, divest his stake in the company before becoming president.

Despite the words of politicians and assurances from Energy Transfer Partners, oil spills in North Dakota are commonplace, with the Center for Biological Diversity estimating that the state has averaged around four major pipeline spills annually since 1996. This latest ruling is set to create even more risks for those who stand to lose the most in the event of more spills.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/federal-judge-public-no-right-know-dak...

We don't have enough judges like Scalia and Gorsuch...

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Transporting oil from one location to another is not an environmental hazard as Progressive Liberal Democrats would have you believe.

Any and all means available will be used by the left to diminish, curtail, or reduce the ability of America to remain sovereign and independent.

Earth day is today. I celebrate it, as I have for years, by pouring a can of oil in the lake below my house. This demonstrates MY concern, in an extremely small way, for that of the EPA and the dumb-asses that support it.

Look. I am just as environmentally concerned as anybody. Any person who loves to hunt and fire guns is pretty much concerned about the preservation of the outdoors and the wildlife supported by it. I don't need some panty waist organization to tell me how to protect it run by idiots who know nothing about it.

Furthermore, if the Indians don't like it then let them walk rather than ride. I am not a big fan of the airlines either. Hell, one could fall from the sky on my head, but I don't go around seeking to ban airplanes. I don't eat pork either, but I am not protesting pig farmers.

Get real.

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