Bloomberg Law
April 2, 2020, 8:56 AM

Pipeline Ruling Spotlights ‘Game-Changer’ in Environmental Cases

Ellen M. Gilmer
Ellen M. Gilmer

A recent court ruling on federal environmental reviews could help breathe new life into an under-the-radar legal argument against major projects across the country.

A district court on March 25 ordered the Trump administration to conduct a more in-depth study of the embattled Dakota Access oil pipeline’s impacts.

The judge reasoned that the impacts were “highly controversial” under the National Environmental Policy Act and required closer analysis.

The standard, enshrined in NEPA regulations for decades, focuses not on public controversy over a project but on scientific or technical disputes about its impacts.

Experts raised legitimate concerns about the pipeline’s oil ...

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