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Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline in San Francisco in 2017. Photo: Joel Angel Juarez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A federal judge ordered Monday the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline — a project at the heart of battles over oil-and-gas infrastructure — while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts a new environmental analysis.

Why it matters: The latest twist in the years-long fight over the pipeline is a defeat for the White House agenda of advancing fossil fuel projects and a win for Native Americans and environmentalists who oppose the project

  • The pipeline, which runs from North Dakota to an oil storage terminal in Illinois, began operating in 2017 with the backing of the Trump administration after several years of regulatory and legal jostling and major protests.

What happened: Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit vacated a critical easement while the Army Corps of Engineers prepares a previously ordered study called an environmental impact statement.

  • The judge wrote that he's "mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause."
  • But he adds that precedent and prior problems with the Corps' review "outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the thirteen months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take."

The intrigue: It's the second big defeat or setback for a high-profile pipeline in as many days.

  • Dominion Energy and Duke Energy yesterday canceled the long-proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a major natural gas project also backed by the Trump administration, citing legal and permitting uncertainties.

Read the ruling.

Go deeper

Obama energy secretary on blackouts, campaign scrutiny

Ernest Moniz. Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor

Axios’ Amy Harder moderated an event Thursday that included Ernest Moniz, energy secretary under former President Barack Obama, where she asked him about some significant developments.

The big picture: The event presented research looking at the challenges of transitioning communities heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal to cleaner energy sources to address climate change.

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

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