The Stream, October 12: Dakota Access Pipeline Can Continue Operating, Federal Judge Rules

The Global Rundown

A U.S. federal judge rules that the Dakota Access Pipeline can continue operating while a study of its effects on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is completed. Tap water prices in Turkmenistan jump 25-fold as the government halts subsidies. FEMA authorizes $70 million to help Puerto Rico safely restore its water supply. Scientists pinpoint ten global rivers that are depositing large amounts of plastic waste into the ocean. An increase in severe weather leads to more fatalities and economic losses in poor nations.

“Today’s decision is a disappointing continuation of a historic pattern: Other people get all the profits, and the tribes get all the risk and harm.” –Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney, in reference to U.S. federal judge James Boasberg’s decision to allow the Dakota Access oil pipeline to continue operating amid an ongoing study of its impact on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The Standing Rock tribe claim that an oil spill from the pipeline could devastate their main water source, Lake Oahe. Boasberg’s ruling, which was praised by energy industry officials, is not appealable. U.S. News & World Report

In context: At Standing Rock – Water, history, and finance converge as Sioux Nation mounts storied battle over Dakota Access pipeline.

By The Numbers

$70 million Amount that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will give to Puerto Rico to help the island restore its water supply. The decision came amid rising concern that the drinking water that has been restored may be unsafe. Dozens of water and wastewater treatment plants are still inoperable three weeks after Hurricane Maria struck the island. NBC News

In context: Puerto Ricans still desperate for water weeks after Hurricane Maria.

50 Number of poor countries that are at “extreme” risk of experiencing widespread fatalities and economic losses due to severe weather. As climate change brings increasingly erratic weather, risk experts warn that poor, unprepared countries will suffer the most deaths and economic hardships. Reuters  

Science, Studies, And Reports

Better management of ten key rivers could lead to less plastic waste in oceans, according to a report by the American Chemical Society. The top ten rivers—including eight in Asia—accounted for 88 to 95 percent of plastic waste in oceans. If plastic pollution from these rivers was halved, the overall waste from rivers would drop by 45 percent, the study claimed. Science Daily

In context: Vietnam’s tourism and fishing industries drown in waste.

On The Radar

Beginning next month, households in Turkmenistan will pay 25 times more for their tap water. The government is suspending generous water subsidies as falling global energy prices leave the country with less yearly revenue. Reuters