Why does the Justice Department say it is willing to defend compensation for victims of the Dakota Access pipeline?
A US judge has issued a preliminary injunction against construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to halt construction of a major US pipeline project in North Dakota.
The decision from Judge James Boasberg was made by US District Judge James Robart on Tuesday, meaning the government is not required to seek a permit to build the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access.
The judge ordered the federal government to pay $3 million to a family of four from North Dakota whose family was killed by the pipeline in August 2017.
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have been harmed by the DAPL’s construction, and the DASHL’s failure to address these harms is an unconscionable abuse of discretion,” the judge wrote.
The family’s attorney, James Jacobs, said the decision would have a “significant and lasting impact” on their lives.
“This is a devastating decision,” he said.
“It sends a clear message to the Dakota Sioux Tribe that they cannot build this pipeline in the face of these grave harm to the families who have been injured or killed by this pipeline, and that they will not be compensated for it,” Jacobs said.
He said the ruling would not impact the US government’s ability to approve or reject the Dakota Dakota Access Pipelines permit application.
“We look forward to reviewing this decision and working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that it is applied fairly and expeditiously,” Jacobs added.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the tribe of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, which owns the land that the pipeline crosses, have fought the project and the federal approval process for months.US President Donald Trump has said the construction of DAPLP would destroy the tribe’s cultural heritage and threaten its water supply.