Federal Judge Refuses To Block Dakota Access Pipeline

Activism, Courts, News

On Monday, a federal judge rejected a request to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, proving property rights and religious rights do not really exist when it comes to corporate profits.

After Trump ordered Federal agencies to approve DAPL permits, the Army Corps of Engineers recently approved the final permit for the DAPL, even though the environmental impact study was not completed, reported CNN.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg refused to grant a temporary restraining order against the project sought by a South Dakota tribe who argues the pipeline threatens their religious waters, according to The Hill.

Since the Federal government has decided to reject the treaty that legally gives land and water rights to the Native America Nation, they are now trying to object on religious grounds.

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. They asked for a temporary restraining order blocking construction of the project, which runs under the lake.

“The mere presence of the oil in the pipeline renders the waters religiously impure,” Cheyenne River Sioux lawyer Nicole Ducheneaux said Monday.

In a move that seems to reveal the judge’s intention to support the oil company, while giving false hope to some of the #NoDAPL activists, he ruled for the pipe to be permitted, because the pipe itself would not defile the water, it is the oil that will do that. He put off the decision to rule on whether or not oil can run through the pipe.

A government lawyer said there is no reason to block construction right now because of a “lack of immediate, irreparable” harm to Lake Oahe during construction of the pipeline itself.

Boasberg agreed, ruling that construction of the pipeline doesn’t threaten the water. He said he wouldn’t issue a restraining order against the project, but vowed to rule on the tribe’s religious challenge to the pipeline before oil runs through it. He set a hearing on the matter for later this month.

“If you are worried it’s going to flow before I rule on the injunction, that’s not going to happen,” he told the tribe’s lawyers.

 

Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice lawyer who represents the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said it’s time to get a ruling on the pipeline itself due to the failure of the temporary work stoppage orders the tribe has sought.

“Construction has started, we are going to try to get these issues resolved before oil can flow, and so we’re moving very aggressively to put the legal questions in front of the judge and get a determination as soon as we can,” Hasselman told reporters after the hearing.

 

Dakota Access developers are building the pipeline’s Oahe crossing now, and a lawyer for the company said on Monday that the company could potentially run oil through the pipeline within 45 days, if not sooner.

“The company is moving as quickly as it can to complete the pipeline to make up for lost time over the last couple of months,” Dakota Access lawyer David Debold said.

Most people believe the company is too far invested for the pipeline to be stopped now, especially with the personal investment of Trump and his friends at stake. There is always a chance the judge will rule in favor of people.

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)

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