Judge refuses to stop work on Dakota Access pipeline

Feb 14, 2017, 00:42
Judge refuses to stop work on Dakota Access pipeline

Drive on a state highway along the Missouri River, amid the rolling hills and wide prairies of North Dakota, and you'll come across a makeshift camp of Native Americans - united by a common cause.

The company further asserts that any further delays in completing the pipeline would cost it tens of millions of dollars, deprive the public of tax revenue, and require oil producers in North Dakota to continue shipping crude by less safe methods, according to the court documents.

Before heading to court Monday, it was widely anticipated that the legal team representing the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes would have a tough time proving their case to Judge Boasberg and getting the restraining order they so desperately sought.

While the company has "the greatest respect for the religious beliefs and traditions of Cheyenne River and the other tribes", there is no need for a restraining order to protect those interests, Scherman wrote.

The tribes requested a temporary injunction last week after Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners got federal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir. But an encampment near the construction in southern North Dakota drew thousands of protesters previous year in support of the tribes, leading to occasional clashes with law enforcement and almost 700 arrests. They maintain the project threatens cultural sites, water and their religion.

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The Corps argued in its filing that a restraining order was unwarranted because the tribes have time to continue with lawsuits before oil flows in the pipeline, The Associated Press reported. That's the last big section that would need to be completed before the pipeline could carry North Dakota oil to IL.

Chase Iron Eyes, member of the Standing Rock Sioux and law project attorney, said the decision was disappointing, not surprising.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., is hearing arguments Monday afternoon.

The tribe took legal action on Thursday to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline after the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the easement needed to immediately resume work on the final phase of the $3.7 billion pipeline. The Cheyenne tribe has been party to an overarching lawsuit with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe brought in July against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the agency approved a permit for the river crossing, without writing an actual easement. The tribes also say it threatens their freedom of religion, which depends on pure water.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners received final approval from the Army last week to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and complete the 1,200-mile pipeline, which would move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in IL.