Judge Orders Pipeline Owner to Create Oil-Spill Plan

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners has been given until April 1 by a Washington D.C. federal Judge to create an oil-spill response plan for its controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued the order nearly six months after he ruled the Army Corps of Engineers should review the project that attracted thousands of protesters, including Oklahomans last year.

Last month’s 5,000-barrel spill at the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota played a role in his order.

“Although the Court is not suggesting that a similar leak is imminent at Lake Oahe, the fact remains that there is an inherent risk with any pipeline,” Boasberg wrote in his eight-page order according to Reuters.

The order was issued at the request of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes who had fought construction of the 1,170 mile pipeline that carries oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Oil began flowing through the pipeline in June but the tribes feared an oil leak or spill might contaminate drinking water sources.

The order forces ETP to coordinate with the local tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers in coming up with the plan. It drew a quick response from one tribal leader.

“While we think that the pipeline should have been shut down, we are gratified that the federal court has put measures in place to reduce risks and provide some independent oversight to reduce the risk of a spill from this project,” said Standing Rock Chairman Mike Faith.

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