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Dakota Access revises timeline after making 'very good progress'

Filed Under: Environment | Law | National | Politics
More on: cheyenne river sioux, donald trump, north dakota, religion, standing rock sioux, usace
     
   

Oil could be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as next week, according to a filing in federal court.

The Dakota Access Pipeline could see oil flowing as soon as next week, according to the wealthy backers of the controversial project.

In a status update submitted in federal court on Monday, the firm said construction crews have made "very good progress" on the final portion of the pipeline in North Dakota. A pipe is due to be laid under the Missouri River by the end of the week, attorneys wrote.

"As a result, Dakota Access anticipates that it will be ready to put oil in this part of the line the week of March 13 or the week of March 20, but it is more likely to occur the week of March 13," the filing reads.

The update comes as a federal judge considers whether to issue a preliminary injunction requested by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, whose leaders and citizens object to the pipeline on religious grounds. They say its mere presence in the Missouri renders the water impure for ceremonies like sweat lodges and coming of age rites.

A decision is expected this week. Depending on the outcome, either the tribe, the Trump administration or Dakota Access could file an appeal.

The case already made one trip to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lost a prior request for a preliminary injunction. The litigation caused delays for Dakota Access in the latter half of 2016 but ultimately the firm was able to restart work except for a portion on federally-managed land along the Missouri.

The final portion, less than a half-mile from Standing Rock, was supposed to be re-evaluated in light of concerns about treaties, sacred sites and water resources. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the project anyway after President Donald Trump ordered his administration to review the pipeline in an "expedited" manner.

He did so without consulting Standing Rock or Cheyenne River and the decision on the final portion was made without consulting either tribe.

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