Medicine wheel of the Lakota Sioux, flown during the DAPL protest. Graphic: Native Sun News Today

By Talli Nauman
20 October 2017

WASHINGTON (Native Sun News Today) – A federal judge ruled against tribal arguments on October 11, when he declared that the contested Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) can continue pumping oil across the Missouri River, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes an environmental review he ordered on the agency permit.

The judge denied the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes’ call for a halt to the oil flow during pursuit of their court complaint against the Corps. They charge the agency with failing to conduct adequate tribal consultation on protecting sacred sites and water rights when it issued an easement to build he pipeline river crossing.

A consortium led by the Texas-based Fortune 500 company Energy Transfer Partners started pumping the oil through the line in June.

In the latest ruling on the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge James Boasberg found that shutting down the pipeline would not cause major economic disruption, as Energy Transfer Partners claimed. However, the judge didn’t order a halt, because he found a possibility that the Corps would be able to justify its initial decision to forego a full environmental review.

Tribal elected leaders responded swiftly. “This pipeline represents a threat to the livelihoods and health of our nation every day it is operational,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Mike Faith, who was inaugurated the same day as the decision.

“It only makes sense to shut down the pipeline while the Army Corps addresses the risks that this court found it did not adequately study,” Faith said.

“From the very beginning of our lawsuit, what we have wanted is for the threat this pipeline poses to the people of Standing Rock Indian Reservation to be acknowledged. Today, our concerns have not been heard and the threat persists,” he concluded. [more]

Tribes decry court decision to let DAPL oil keep flowing


17 October 2017 (The Indigenous American) – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.

A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.

In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests.

We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.” [more]

In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds That Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law

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