After four years locked in legal struggle over the construction of the controversial 1,172 mile-long, Dakota Access Pipeline, the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes won a major victory on Monday when a federal court ordered the pipeline to cease its operations by August 5. Judge James E. Boasberg, from the US District Court of the District of Columbia, ruled that the US Army Corps of Engineers—tasked with awarding the permits for construction—failed to fully assess the environmental risks posed by a segment of the pipeline. The tribes argued the segment, which runs under Lake Oahe, a large reservoir half a mile from Standing Rock Reservation land, has both despoiled sacred land and contaminated their water supply.
“Fearing severe environmental consequences,” the ruling states, “American Indian Tribes on nearby reservations have sought for several years to invalidate federal permits allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to carry oil under the lake. Today they finally achieve that goal—at least for the time being.”