Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dakota Access company can keep some pipeline secrets

A federal judge is allowing the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline to keep secret some but not all pipeline information that the company believes could be useful to vandals and terrorists. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in a ruling dated Friday 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. Two 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 Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners, declined to comment, citing the tribes' ongoing federal lawsuit over the $3.8 billion project to move North Dakota oil to a distribution point 1,200 miles away in Illinois. The Texas-based developer in February asked Boasberg to shield information that it contends could be used by anyone "with the malicious intent to damage the pipeline." At the time, there had been about 750 arrests of anti-pipeline activists in North Dakota since August, and also vandalism to company equipment in Iowa and North Dakota during construction. In March, there were confirmed instances in which someone apparently had used a torch to burn holes through empty sections of the pipeline at aboveground shut-off valve sites, though no one was arrested...more

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