As legal options for opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline narrow, a US judge ruled on Tuesday against native tribes seeking to stop the project from moving forward on the reason that it would prevent them from practicing religious ceremonies.
Another legal defeat:
US District Court for the District of Columbia’s Judge James Boasberg rejected injunction the requested by Cheyenne River Sioux’s to remove the Army Corps’ permission for the last link of the oil pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline is being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners LP to move crude from the Northern Plains to the Midwest and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Native American tribes, the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux, have been leading the charge against the line, as it runs adjacent to tribal territory in southern North Dakota. The denial of the injunction represents yet another setback.
The Cheyenne River Sioux argued that even if the pipeline goes under the lake, it would make the water they use for religious ceremonies spiritually impure.
In early December, the tribes won a reprieve from the former Obama administration. However, the victory didn’t last long as President Trump signed an executive order days after taking office to continue the pipeline construction.
The final 1,100-foot gap in the 1,170-mile pipeline crosses beneath Lake Oahe, part of the Missouri River system. The pipeline will move oil from the Bakken shale formation to a terminus in Illinois.
Pipeline to start operating:
By the week of March 13, Energy Transfer Partners said that it plans to start pumping oil through a section of the line under the Missouri River.
Thousands of people were drawn to the North Dakota plains last year to oppose the building of the pipeline, to including high-profile political and celebrity supporters, along with veterans’ groups upset by the excessive use of force by law enforcement.
Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault II after the legal victory in December. The primary protest camp on federal land was evacuated by mid-February, however, there remains substantial cleanup still. The last protesters burned structures as they left the camp.