U.S. judge denies tribe’s request to stop oil flow in Dakota Access pipeline

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By David Gaffen

The ruling, issued in court documents ahead of plans to
start pumping oil through the pipeline next week, follows months
of demonstrations in a remote part of North Dakota, where the
Standing Rock Sioux tribe demonstrated in an attempt to stop the
Dakota Access Pipeline crossing upstream from their reservation.

Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia issued his decision denying the request by
the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, saying the court “acknowledges
that the tribe is likely to suffer irreparable harm to its
members’ religious exercise if oil is introduced into the
pipeline, but Dakota Access would also be substantially harmed
by an injunction, given the financial and logistical injuries
that would ensue.”

The pipeline is nearing completion after President Donald
Trump signed an executive order last month smoothing the path
for construction. He also cleared the way for the Keystone XL
project that would pipe Canadian crude into the United States.

The Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux last
week lost a legal bid to halt construction of the last link of
the pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, which they say
threatens tribal lands. The pipeline will be ready
to carry oil by April 1.

Among the Republican Trump’s first acts in office was to
sign an executive order that reversed a decision by the previous
administration of Democratic President Barack Obama to delay
approval of the Dakota pipeline, a $3.8 billion project by
Energy Transfer Partners LP.

Boasberg noted in his decision that any ruling to allow the
tribe’s request for an injunction preventing oil from flowing
through the pipeline would likely be overturned on appeal.

Thousands of Native American demonstrators and their
supporters marched to the White House last Friday to voice
outrage at Trump’s decision.



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