Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A federal judge ordered Dakota Access Pipeline operators and federal and tribal officials to coordinate an oil-spill response plan, court documents showed on Monday.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered Dakota Access operators to coordinate an oil-spill plan with local tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers as well as conduct a third-party audit of the pipeline's compliance with federal and state regulations, and produce bi-monthly reports on the pipeline's operations.
The order must be implemented by April 1, 2018, and the first bi-monthly report is due by December 31, 2017, with subsequent reports due every 60 days.
Boasberg said the public has "an interest in ensuring the status quo at Lake Oahe is preserved" while the 1,170-mile pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois undergoes environmental review.
"The interim conditions...are instead a means by which the court can ensure that it receives up-to-date and necessary information about the operation of the pipeline and the facts on the ground," he said.
Boasberg previously ruled against Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes' request to halt the construction of the pipeline on religious grounds.
The pipeline began pumping oil in June and can carry 570,000 barrels of oil per day when operating at full capacity.
Boasberg also said the new conditions are a "means by which the court can gather information about the risks posed by the pipeline ... and can ensure that the status quo is preserved for both sides."
He specifically cited a leak in the Keystone pipeline that spilled 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota on Nov. 16.
"Although the court is not suggesting that a similar leak is imminent at Lake Oahe, the fact remains that there is an inherent risk with any pipeline," Boasberg said.