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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.

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
31 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

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