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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.

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

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