A federal judge Tuesday once again rejected requests by two Native American tribes to halt ongoing construction of the final link in the $3.8 billion, nearly 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg in the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes for a court-imposed preliminary injunction. However, he did not rule on other arguments calling for a summary judgment against DAPL sponsors, Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) and its partners, in the four-state project.
The court challenges claim a full environmental impact statement (EIS) is required before any permit may be issued as required by law; the Obama administration had agreed and granted a decision late last year to initiate an EIS that received hundreds of thousands of comments.
The challenge also claimed a “careful consideration” of the Native American treaties is required before a permit is issued by a government agency. The Obama administration had also agreed on this point.
The legal setback precedes three days of demonstrations, lobbying and a Friday protest march by DAPL opponents in the nation's capital.
A spokesperson for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), which supports the pipeline, said the repeated rejections from the court demonstrate that "both the Army Corps of Engineers and DAPL have fully complied with all established laws and regulations. Both DAPL and its parent ETP have continued to show a strong desire to accommodate landowner concerns and respect for culturally sensitive areas."
In response to the ruling, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II said President Trump “and his friends at Big Oil have not won,” and the “ruling does not hurt the strength of our arguments challenging the illegal easement approved” by the Corps. “While this preliminary ruling is disappointing, it’s not surprising. It is very difficult to get an injunction in a case like this. The bigger legal battle is ahead – we stand strong.”