The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reportedly withholding a recent study on the effects a spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline could have on the environment. The pipeline, which inspired months of protest and heavy-handed tactics from police in North Dakota, was delayed in December but fast-tracked when President Trump took office. It is expected to be operational within a month. In March, independent news organization MuckRock filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to the environmental assessment the Corps had conducted to determine the effects an oil spill could have on Lake Oahe.
Huffington Post explained what prompted MuckRock co-founder Michael Morisy to submit the request:
“The assessment’s existence was mentioned in an internal Army Corps memo about the controversial 1,172-mile pipeline, which will carry North Dakota crude oil through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois“The memo mentioned that several documents were withheld from the public and from representatives of a Native American tribe that has objected to the project ‘because of security concerns and sensitivities.’”
Morisy set out to find out what was withheld, only to be told the information was too sensitive and could harm public safety.