By now, you’re probably aware that the United States has been experiencing a major uptick in carbon pollution.
That’s because of the ongoing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial project that would carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
The pipeline has already been under construction for more than five years, but has already faced a host of environmental, social, and legal challenges.
And while some have been successfully fighting the project, there have been numerous instances of pipeline workers intentionally damaging pipelines, often by using equipment that would normally be expected to be used to dig a hole for the pipeline’s intended purpose.
One of those incidents, which occurred in August 2017, was an incident that led to an estimated $30 million in damages to the pipeline and its infrastructure.
This past month, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against four construction contractors for the alleged use of an equipment that the company was supposed to be using in the construction of a proposed waterway on private land.
The contractors’ claims of negligence, negligence under the False Claims Act, and negligent workmanship resulted in a $25,000 fine for each contractor, as well as a $50,000 civil penalty.
However, in an attempt to keep the investigation from dragging on too long, the company that is responsible for the damage claims to have settled the case with the DOJ.
“The Department of Energy’s lawsuit seeks to prevent the Department of Environmental Protection from pursuing a class action suit against the defendants,” a DOJ spokesperson told Motherboard.
“The Department seeks to minimize any potential civil liability in the case as much as possible and seeks to resolve the matter amicably.
According to the DOJ’s settlement, the defendants agreed to not attempt to recover damages from any future projects using equipment with which the defendants are associated, and to not use such equipment in future projects that will affect water resources or the environment.”
The DOJ claims that they have determined that “the defendants had no knowledge of or knowledge of potential environmental damage to any of the pipelines and infrastructure associated with the Dakota Pipeline.”
Although the company has been named as the defendant, the agency is not naming any of its members, nor is the lawsuit currently being prosecuted.
However, the DOJ also claimed that the complaint against the contractors “is not yet complete.”
“Due to the continuing nature of the litigation, the Department has no information to release at this time, but is confident that it will be resolved in the best interest of the public,” the DOJ stated in a statement.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these issues with your companies water supply, you may want to consult with an attorney before diving into any litigation.
In addition to the legal issues surrounding the Dakota pipeline, the environmental impact is also a major concern, as it would allow for more crude oil to be transported through the pipeline.
According to the EPA, the construction work on the pipeline would “disrupt and degrade the quality of water in the area” and could cause environmental damage and cause water quality problems for people living near the pipeline route.
In order to determine if the company is guilty of any specific negligence, the court will be able to determine whether the company will be liable for any damages, as there is no statute of limitations on civil lawsuits.