Published: Tue, February 14, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Dakota Access pipeline in court Monday

Dakota Access pipeline in court Monday

A United States judge has rejected a request from two Native American tribes to halt construction on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux later joined the request.

Heeding instructions by President Donald Trump to let the project move forward, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a final easement permit on February 8 that would let Energy Transfer Partners cross the Missouri River under Lake Oahe in North Dakota to finish the pipeline.

The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe says the oil pipeline threatens to "imbalance and desecrate" Lake Oahe on the Missouri River, which is sacred to the tribe.

Once completed, the 1,172-mile pipeline will carry more than half a billion gallons of crude oil daily across four states, from North Dakota to IL.

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. 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.

Previous court filings by potentially affected tribes had made no mention of the Dakota Access Pipeline potentially compromising their ability to freely practice their religion.

The developer, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has completed most of the pipeline, and began work on the final section after the army gave it permission to proceed on Wednesday. Construction on the pipeline has been stalled out for months, and at the end of December it appeared that protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline had gotten their way when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (headed by the Obama administration) rescinded a vital easement allowing the oil company to drill and lay pipe under Lake Oahe. Amid the renewed effort to complete the project, the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribe vowed to continue their legal battle through the courts.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that as long as the oil isn't flowing through the pipeline, there is no immediate harm to the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.

Thousands of predominantly Native American protesters have demonstrated against the pipeline's construction and set up camps along the final stretch.

Boasberg denied the order Monday at an already scheduled status hearing in the case. That's the last big section that would need to be completed before the pipeline could carry North Dakota oil to IL.

The Army plans to close the protest camp on February 22.

A lawyer for Dakota Access LLC, the company building the pipeline, offered a new, faster possible timeline for construction to finish.

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