Dakota Access Pipeline

On Tuesday, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River tribes a motion for preliminary injunction against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rebecca Hersher, Dakota Access Pipeline Court Challenge Denied, Oil Could Flow as Soon as Next Week, www.npr.org (Mar. 7, 2017). Energy Transfer Partners (the pipeline company) states that oil could be flowing as early as next week. Id. In the motion the tribes unsuccessfully argued that the completion of the pipeline endangers the reservation’s drinking water and will damage cultural sites. Id.

Once Trump took office the Army Corps of Engineers issued an easement that allowed Dakota Access to drill under Lake Oahe, a federally regulated waterway that is part of the Missouri River. Id. The Cheyenne River tribe responded by filing a motion that explains how the easement violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and requested the Court to enjoin the easement and the drilling. Id.

Judge Boasberg denied the request to stop construction, stating that he believed the tribes were unlikely to win their suit. Id. Late last month the governor of North Dakota ordered demonstrators to leave the encampments, claiming concerns of flooding due to snow melt. Id. However, opposition to the pipeline has continued around the country, including outside Trump Tower in NYC. Id.