Construction on the Revolution System in Pennsylvania, one of Energy Transfer Partners’ many contested petroleum pipelines, is expected to lead to delivery of fracked gas from Marcellus Shale by the end of 2017. Photo by Talli Nauman
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Native Sun News Today: Tribes decry court ruling favoring Dakota Access Pipeline

Tribes decry court decision to let DAPL oil keep flowing

By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled against tribal arguments on October 11, when he declared that the contested Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) can continue pumping oil across the Missouri River, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finishes an environmental review he ordered on the agency permit.

The judge denied the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes’ call for a halt to the oil flow during pursuit of their court complaint against the Corps. They charge the agency with failing to conduct adequate tribal consultation on protecting sacred sites and water rights when it issued an easement to build he pipeline river crossing.

A consortium led by the Texas-based Fortune 500 company Energy Transfer Partners started pumping the oil through the line in June.

In the latest ruling on the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge James Boasberg found that shutting down the pipeline would not cause major economic disruption, as Energy Transfer Partners claimed. However, the judge didn’t order a halt, because he found a possibility that the Corps would be able to justify its initial decision to forego a full environmental review.

Tribal elected leaders responded swiftly. “This pipeline represents a threat to the livelihoods and health of our nation every day it is operational,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Mike Faith, who was inaugurated the same day as the decision.

“It only makes sense to shut down the pipeline while the Army Corps addresses the risks that this court found it did not adequately study,” Faith said.

“From the very beginning of our lawsuit, what we have wanted is for the threat this pipeline poses to the people of Standing Rock Indian Reservation to be acknowledged. Today, our concerns have not been heard and the threat persists,” he concluded.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reacted similarly. “In allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operations, it shows a complete disregard of the federal government’s responsibility to safeguard its treaty responsibilities, our life-giving resources and the American people,” the tribal government said in a written statement.

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