Attorneys for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux didn’t get the greatest news this week. In a decision dated Friday, the U.S. District Judge James Boasberg would allow the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline to keep secret some but not all pipeline information.
What can remain hidden? Information that the company believes could be useful to vandals and terrorists. American Indian tribes who oppose the pipeline had argued that the spill risk data could bolster their case that more environmental study is needed.
Attorneys for the tribes, objected to the company’s request to keep documents secret. They called the company’s reasoning “a ruse” to conceal documents that undermine its assertion that no further environmental review of the pipeline is needed because it’s safe.
The federal judge is allowing the developer to keep secret some but not all pipeline DATA. That information such as “spill risks” at various points along the pipeline should be “shielded from public view” but that certain details relating to how a spill might be handled don’t warrant such protection.
Analyses by the Transportation Security Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers, are the agencies that weighed in. Boasberg reviewed those agencies’ determinations before reaching his decision.
Boasberg said “the asserted interest in limiting intentionally inflicted harm outweighs the tribes’ generalized interests in public disclosure and scrutiny.”
This is somewhat of a defeat for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes. Any and all information about spill risk is wanted. It is the basic points of the case. They argued that the spill risk data could bolster their case that more environmental study is needed.
As the legalities unfold, we will follow. A copy of this brief is expected to be available soon.