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Sioux Nation citizens seek to join Dakota Access Pipeline lawsuit






LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, center, speaks at the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

A group of Sioux Nation citizens are seeking to join the ongoing #NoDAPL lawsuit on the eve of a critical hearing.

The 13 citizens, a group that includes LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the founder of the Sacred Stone Camp, say their religious practices will be harmed if oil flows through the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are hoping to add President Donald Trump, who paved the way for the controversial project in one of his first actions, as a defendant to the case in addition to the already-named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"President Trump had no legal authority to direct or instruct expedited review of the environmental determination of an expert engineering and environmental agency that is required by law to render neutral and objective findings based upon its expertise and professional judgment," their proposed complaint reads.

"President Trump had no legal authority to direct or instruct that the Corps make any substantive decision as all such decision making powers lie in and within the Corps’s independent expert decision making as mandated by Congress," the filing continues.

"President Trump had no lawful authority via Presidential Memorandum or otherwise to intervene in the Corps’s decision making function and had no lawful authority to direct or instruct that the Corps consider rescinding the Notice of Intent, to direct or instruct that the Corps expedite its environmental review and analysis or that the Corps cut off or suspend any notice or comment period," it adds, referring to the notice of an environmental impact statement for the pipeline that was abruptly terminated this month.

In addition to Allard, who is from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the group includes citizens of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River governments are part of the ongoing lawsuit while the Oglala Sioux government has filed a separate lawsuit against the Army Corps.

The filing comes as a federal judge takes up Cheyenne River's request for a preliminary injunction against the Army Corps. The tribe is hoping to halt all construction activities in North Dakota due to threats to its religious practices. The hearing takes place at 11am Eastern on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Indian Country #NoDAPL Briefs:
Oglala Sioux Tribe (February 21, 2017)
Pueblo of Pojoaque / Association on American Indian Affairs / University of New Mexico School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic (February 21, 2017)
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center / 13 Tribes / 105 Non-Profit Organizations (February 21, 2017)
National Congress of American Indians / 34 Tribes / 11 Tribal Organizations / 2 Civil Rights Organizations (February 22, 2017)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Termination of the Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC's Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota (February 17, 2017)

Prior Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC's Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota (January 18, 2017)

Dakota Access Pipeline Approval Documents:
Department of Justice Notice | Department of the Army Approval Memorandum | Notice of Termination of EIS for Dakota Access Pipeline | Easement Letter to Congressional Leadership

White House Documents:
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing (January 24, 2017)
Press Release: President Trump Takes Action to Expedite Priority Energy and Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)

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