Federal judge denies request to block Dakota pipeline

US federal judge James Boasberg rejected a request by two Native American tribes to halt construction of the remaining section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline until their lawsuit over the project is resolved.

Susan Walsh/AP
Madonna Thunder Hawk, of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, gestures as she walks out of federal court to talk with reporters in Washington on Monday.

Construction of the final stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline will proceed as planned, a US federal judge ruled Monday. 

Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court in Washington, D.C., denied a request by Native American tribes to halt construction of the controversial $3.8-billion project that has resulted in months of protests and more than 700 arrests. Attorneys for the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes had asked Judge Boasberg to block construction with a temporary restraining order, arguing that the 1,170-mile pipeline would prevent the tribes from holding religious ceremonies at a lake they say is surrounded by sacred ground. The oil, the tribes' attorneys said, would "[render] the water spiritually impure." 

"We're disappointed with today's ruling denying a temporary restraining order against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we are not surprised," Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said in a statement. 

While construction will continue for now, the legal battle isn't over. As long as oil isn't flowing through the pipeline, there is no immediate harm to the tribes, Boasberg ruled. However, he said, he will consider the arguments more thoroughly at another hearing on Feb. 27. 

Amid widespread resistance to the pipeline that attracted thousands of protesters to North Dakota last year, construction under Lake Oahe had been held up in the courts until last month, when President Trump instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with the project as planned. The denial from Judge Boasberg comes less than a week after the Army announced that it would allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe, clearing the way for the project's completion. 

Last week, Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado estimated that the drilling work would take approximately two months, and that the pipeline would be operational within three. But according to David Debold, a lawyer for Dakota Access, the pipeline could be ready for oil within as little as 30 days. 

"We're not in a position where we can agree to any kind of stopping of the pipeline," Mr. Debold said, as reported by the Associated Press. 

The Army Corps of Engineers also filed court documents on Monday, arguing that halting construction is unnecessary, as the tribes will have an opportunity to argue their case before oil flows through the pipeline. 

Until then, Mr. Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said, he and other opponents of the pipeline will continue to fight in courts and on the ground, "in peaceful prayer and in dignity as we assert our rights to protect our environment, our economy and our sovereignty."

This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Federal judge denies request to block Dakota pipeline
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2017/0214/Federal-judge-denies-request-to-block-Dakota-pipeline
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe