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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe drops appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit

Filed Under: Environment | Law | National | Politics
More on: cheyenne river sioux, dakota access pipeline, dc, dc circuit, harold frazier
     
   

Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe addresses the media at the #IndigenousRising round dance in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe will continue to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline in court but is dropping a pending appeal in the case.

A motion of voluntary dismissal was filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon. Although the tribe's request hasn't been officially granted, none of the other parties are objecting.

"On March 27, 2017, defendant-appellee Dakota Access, LLC advised that oil had been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe," the motion stated. "Accordingly, the tribe moves to dismiss its appeal from the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction to stop the flow of oil under Lake Oahe."

The tribe had asked a federal judge to stop oil from flowing through the pipeline but the request was denied on March 7. Days later, the wealthy backers of the project announced that construction on the final portion was complete.

The tribe could have kept pursuing the appeal but the briefing schedule established by the D.C. Circuit posed some issues. The tribe is supposed to submit its first brief by Tuesday, with responses from Dakota Access and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the defendants in the case, to follow by June 1.

Dakota Access has since announced May 14 as the earliest possible date for oil shipments so the tribe likely would not have achieved success at the D.C. Circuit, given the timing. The appeal centered on religious objections to the pipeline.

Despite the withdrawal of the appeal, the tribe still has time to stop oil from flowing before May 14. A federal judge has yet to rule on a motion to set aside the Trump administration's approval of the pipeline. Briefing is complete but a date for a hearing -- if any -- hasn't been scheduled as of Friday afternoon.

As the court battle continues, Chairman Harold Frazier is in Washington, D.C.. to for the People's Climate March. He took part in the #IndigenousRising round dance at the Trump Hotel on Thursday evening.

"Trump and big business should beware because together I know we will beat DAPL, Keystone, uranium mining, and every threat to Grandmother Earth,” Frazier said on Friday, referring to Dakota Access and the Keystone XL Pipeline, which his tribe also opposes.

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