Published: Tue, February 14, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

USA judge rejects tribes' latest effort to stop Dakota Access pipeline progress

USA judge rejects tribes' latest effort to stop Dakota Access pipeline progress

US federal judge denied a request by Native American tribes seeking a halt to construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday, the controversial project that has sparked months of protests from tribal activists seeking to halt the 1,170-mile line.

Boasberg ruled that construction of the pipeline doesn't threaten the water and said he wouldn't issue a restraining order against the project.

All that is required to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline to completion is a mere 1,100-foot link under Lake Oahe, which is an artificial lake along the Missouri River system.

The Army Corps of Engineers is objecting to a request by the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes to stop construction of the final big stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline is scheduled and expected to run under the lake, which the Standing Rock Sioux and other local Native American tribes claim is surrounded by "sacred" land.

Both tribes also warned the pipeline could break and pollute the river, which is the source of drinking water for the tribe and millions of people downstream.

The US Army Corp of Engineers filed documents favoring Energy Transfer Partners, having granted the final easement for DAPL last Tuesday. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the almost 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline.

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Thousands of tribe members and environmental activists have protested the pipeline setting up camps past year on Army Corps land in the North Dakota plains.

Arguing against the claim that the project would violate the Cheyenne River tribe's religious freedom, Dakota Access attorney William S. Scherman said in today's brief that this allegation, which had not previously been raised in the lawsuit, comes far too late in the process. After all, the Washington D.C. judge was the same man who denied the tribes' request to halt the pipeline project last September.

However, developer ETP and the army argued against an emergency injunction, saying there was time for the lawsuit to be heard before oil began to flow through the pipeline.

A quick court hearing proved that those concerned about the ability to secure a restraining order in the Dakota Access Pipeline case were right to be anxious.

Judge James Boasberg will hear arguments on whether to stop work until a legal battle with Native American tribes has been resolved.

A lawyer for Dakota Access LLC, the company building the pipeline, offered a new, faster possible timeline for construction to finish. In fact, the Corps has vowed to close Standing Rock protest camps along the Cannonball River (at least those on federal lands) after February 22.

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