The wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be able to keep some oil spill information out of the public’s eyes as tribes continue to resist the controversial project.A federal judge on Friday agreed to redact portions of five oil spill documents in order to address safety and security concerns about the pipeline. But he did so only because he said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rode to the company’s rescue.Without the federal government’s help, Judge James E. Boasberg might not have granted the protective order sought by the firm.
In fact, when it came to a majority of the 11 documents at issue, he said Dakota Access came up far short.”Dakota Access offers very little in the way of specific facts to support its argument that terrorists or other individuals with malicious intent might use this information to craft a plan to harm the pipeline in a way that causes the greatest damage,” Boasberg wrote in the 13-page decision.The ruling resolves one of the outstanding issues in the ongoing litigation. Leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribehad long been calling on the firm to make all of the information about the pipeline public in order for everyone assess its environmental impacts.While the tribes are able to use the documents and refer to them in their court filings, the public won’t be able to access a total of 50 redactions agreed to by Boasberg. The information appears to be significant in nature in addressing oil spills.The secret information includes “maps of DAPL at certain crossings, the names of pipeline segments when paired with timelines for detecting and shutting down spills, graphs of spill-risk scores at various points along the pipeline, maps of spill scenarios and predictions as to the volume of oil that would be released, the names of systems used to monitor the pipeline for leaks, and methods of communication with those monitoring systems,”