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.
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    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.

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    • tapatio

      ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINION OF A FEDERAL “CORPORATE PUPPET” JUDGE WHO CLAIMS THAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HAS NO RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT CORPORATIONS ARE DOING ON AMERICAN PUBLIC LAND, CAN REACH DISTRICT JUDGE JAMES BOASBERG (BOA$$BERG) AT THE NUMBERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LINKED PAGE…………

      http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/content/district-judge-james-e-boasberg

    • Pingback: FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS PUBLIC CAN LEGALLY BE KEPT IN THE DARK ON DAKOTA PIPELINE SPILL RISKS | NewZSentinel()

    • Suzanne Fritsch

      I don’t believe poisoning the water is the intention; spills cost money and that takes from profits and CEO pay.
      I do believe the pipeline will leak; as that is just the nature of pipelines, all it takes is the failure of one little (50cent)
      o ring and there you have your spill….

      • tapatio

        No, their poisoning the water and the land is not the goal of the oil companies and their puppet politicians. It may well be an added bonus for criminals like Henry Kissinger. But, the oil companies and their puppets couldn’t care less about land, water or people. They only want MONEY & POWER.

    • ’46 one time hippy

      The deep state owns the judiciary

      • tapatio

        It owns the entire government.

    • kwilson

      Spoiling all the available water supplies is the goal here. The uber-wealthy plan to profit even further from the coming water wars.

      • tapatio

        Hopefully, humanity will have awakened by then and eradicated the predatory capitalists.

    • DLT88

      I’m so sick of these corrupt crooked ‘judges’ making these decisions that only benefit the super rich and screw the rest of us. What a ($@#*$) that judge is.

    • sw

      These idiots are gonna poison all the water supplies before it is over, we need to get every senator in congress and house of reps gone before anything will change.

      • kwilson

        By the time that happens, it will be far too late. Poisoning the water supplies is the plan – and it’s already well underway. Once none of us has freshwater to drink, the super-rich, with their stored supplies, plan to watch the underclasses kill each other off, so we can be replaced with robots which don’t need water, food, or a paycheck. They’re already selling tickets to Armageddon.
        He who dies with the most toys, wins.

        • Suzanne Fritsch

          No, not the objective as the super-rich love fishing and hunting too…just a case of deNile; thinking it won’t leak and/or they can clean it up. Spills take away from profits….

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    • The word “news” should not appear after Mint Press. You don’t do news. Perhaps you should ask exactly which pipelines the goto “pipeline safety expert” for those in the antifracking pipeline resistance movement Richard Kuprewicz has found to be safe? Wasn’t he involved with Spectra Aim resistance as well?

      • Priscilla Ross-Fox

        Guess what? They want to close the EPA office in Chicago (budget cuts ya know) so we can only believe the others will be shut down so the dirty work may be done.

      • tapatio

        Well, Karen Orlando, seems you came into existence for the sole purpose of trolling for the oil industry. EVERY one of some hundreds of comments is pro-fossil fuel industry. Your facebook page is a blank dummy page..

        What other sort of wh0re are you? I mean, if you aren’t too ugly (or a man using a female identity), maybe………..

    • Jilly

      All Oil and Gas pipelines leak. All Fracking operations poison the water table and most create earthquakes. Oklahoma never had earthquakes until Fracking operations began – now they are nearly a daily occurrence. Our government has been keeping a lid on alternative energy sources for decades.
      UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.

    • Nicholas B Scott

      “whose primary water sources are ‘indirectly’ threatened by the pipeline”

      FTFY.

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    • tapatio

      IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE DOCUMENT BELOW IS ALL THAT’S LEFT

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to ALTER or to ABOLISH it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      • Jerald Davidson

        La lucha sigue! All that is needed is unity: climate change activists, environmental activists, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, anti-war, feminists, indigenous rights, Zapatistas. Subcommandante Marcos said it best: “We cannot do it alone.” The government’s strategy has always been “divide and conquer”. The people united can never be defeated.

        • tapatio

          Well, we need to educate quite a few million more Americans zippity-quick or there might not be an America or world (that doesn’t belong to the cockroaches). The Doomsday Clock is at 11:57:30, I believe and Mother Nature’s tantrum isn’t far behind.

          If humans control Washington, all seven+ billion of us have a decent chance. If the predatory sociopaths remain in control, bend over and kiss your tushy goodbye.

      • DLT88

        AMEN!

        • tapatio

          TY