In what is being called a "rare shutdown" of an operating pipeline, the order does present a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmental groups that have fought fiercely for years against the oil pipeline.
In the 24-page brief handed down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a key permit from the Army Corps of Engineers was scraped and the pipeline was ordered to end its three-year run of delivering oil out of North Dakota’s Bakken shale basin to its endpoint in Illinois within 30 days.
The pipeline stretches over 1,100 miles, carrying crude from the Bakken shale oil field of North Dakota to a key hub in Illinois, where it can be transported to refineries on the Gulf Coast or East Coast.
The ruling essentially end's the yearslong legal battle over the Energy Transfer Partners-owned pipeline’s environmental damage to the Missouri River. President Donald Trump granted the permit for the pipeline in 2017, over the objections of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmental activists, according to CNBC News.
“The Corps had failed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement despite conditions that triggered such a requirement,” the court ruling said. “Although mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause, the Court now concludes that the answer is yes.”
“Given the seriousness of the Corps’ NEPA error, the impossibility of a simple fix, the fact that Dakota Access did assume much of its economic risk knowingly, and the potential harm each day the pipeline operates, the Court is forced to conclude that the flow of oil must cease,” Judge James Boasberg wrote in the ruling.
According to CNN, the court acknowledged the shutdown will cause "disruption," but said the "seriousness of the Corps' deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months" the review is estimated to take. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) requires agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their actions, including permit approvals.