WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps said on Friday that a permit it granted for the Dakota Access Pipeline last year was environmentally sound, handing a setback to tribal and green groups hoping to stop the flow of oil on the pipeline.
In June 2017 U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C., ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to further review environmental analysis on the permit, which had granted the final easement to finish the pipeline.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe had sued the Army Corps over its approval of the pipeline in North Dakota, arguing that oil spills could contaminate their water source, the Missouri River.
The Army Corps said in its decision that granting the permit and right of way for the company under federally owned land “does not result in disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations, including tribes, and low-income populations.”
Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline had hoped the new analysis would force the halting of the Energy Transfer Partners LP pipeline, which began transporting oil last year.
Energy Transfer Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.
The tribe decried the agency’s affirmation of the permit.
“The Army Corps’ decision to rubber-stamp its illegal and flawed permit for DAPL will not stand,” said Mike Faith, Jr., Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
He said the tribe would review the decision and decide how best to proceed.
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Toni Reinhold