A U.S. district judge says he will allow four Native American tribes in North Dakota to challenge federal officials' conclusion that a Dakota Access oil pipeline spill would not unfairly affect them, prolonging a court case that has dragged on for more than two years.
The Army Corps of Engineers last fall completed more than a year of additional work that it said backed up its earlier determination that the pipeline does not pose a higher risk of adverse impacts to minorities; the tribes say the Corps has simply rubber-stamped earlier conclusions and maintain they were not allowed adequate input.
The judge says he will allow the tribes to challenge the Corps' report but the Corps and pipeline developer Energy Transfer (NYSE:ET) can oppose the introduction of any new tribal claims not specifically related to the additional study.
The tribes want a full environmental study that includes consideration of route alternatives, even though the $3.8B pipeline began moving oil from North Dakota to Illinois in 2017.
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