Judge Denies Tribal Request to Halt DAPL on Religious Claims

By Yessenia Funes Mar 08, 2017

Oil can start flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as next week, according to court documents filed March 6. The pipeline is on track for that date since yesterday (March 7), when a federal judge denied the Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes their request to immediately stop construction.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners, on February 9. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe joined the lawsuit February 10.

The tribes were claiming that the pipeline crossing Lake Oahe of the Missouri River would place a burden on the tribes’ ability to exercise their freedom of religion. It was on that claim that U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denied their motion for a preliminary injunction. Meanwhile, Energy Transfer Partners continues to drill underneath the river to complete the 1,172-mile long pipeline.  

Still, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe remains hopeful. In an online press release, Chairman Dave Archambault II wrote:

“Trump and his friends at Big Oil have not won. Today’s ruling does not hurt the strength of our legal arguments challenging the illegal easement approved by the Trump administration. 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.”

Though this court case is over, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe still has a separate lawsuit filed against the Army Corps in July 2016. Attorneys on that case filed a legal brief February 14 to expedite a ruling. The defendant has yet to respond, and a ruling is not expected on the case until April.

Despite this, the tribes and their allies from around the country are expected to be in the U.S. capital on Friday (March 10) for the Native Nations Rise March on Washington, to demand that the administration listen to the tribes and stop the pipeline from moving forward.