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Dakota Access seeks to intervene in Oglala Sioux Tribe's lawsuit






Thousands of tribal citizens and their allies take part in the Native Nations Rise even in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / More on Flickr

The wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline are seeking to intervene in another lawsuit that challenges the controversial project.

Dakota Access is already defending itself from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The firm wants to do the same in a lawsuit filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

"Here, plaintiff seeks to invalidate the federal authorizations, permits, and verifications that allow construction and operation of the pipeline," a motion filed in federal court on Wednesday states. "Plainly, disposition of plaintiff’s claim would impair Dakota Access’s ability to protect its interests in the pipeline."

The Oglala Sioux Tribe, as the plaintiff, does not oppose the motion to intervene, according to the filing. Neither does the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the defendant in the case.

The lack of opposition, as well as the firm's involvement in other #NoDAPL lawsuits, likely means the motion will be granted. A decision hasn't been made as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to a review of the online court document system.

The filing comes as Dakota Access prepares to put the pipeline into operation. Oil could start flowing along the 1,172-mile route any day now although June 1 is being given as the official date of service.

"Construction on Dakota Access is mechanically complete and line fill operations are set to conclude mid-May," an update posted to the project website last week states. "We are scheduled to begin service under our Committed Transportation Service Agreements with shippers on June 1."

Collectively, the four tribes have raised numerous objections to the pipeline, citing impacts on treaty rights, sacred sites and water resources. Although some decisions have been issued since Standing Rock first went to court last summer, none of those decisions have completely resolved the merits of the tribal complaints.

The Trump administration's approval of the final portion of the pipeline is among the key issues that remains to be resolved. Judge James E. Boasberg, who is handling all of the cases on a consolidated basis, has not said whether he will hold a hearing on motions that were filed by Standing Rock and Cheyenne River leaders.

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