Dakota Access Pipeline protests grow
A ruling in the request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop a four-state oil pipeline under construction near their reservation will come by Sept. 9.
The tribe is challenging the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant permits for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners' $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which crosses through four states, including near the reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border. U.S.
The $3.8 billion pipeline, which will run 1,172 miles through Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota, has generated legal challenges and protests, most aggressively in North Dakota and Iowa. Growing protests and increased tension over the pipeline that will cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation has led to more than two dozen arrests, including tribal chairman Dave Archambault II.
He said he would continue to call for calm at the protest site. "I'm asking that we proceed with prayer and with peace," Archambault said. "Tribes from across the nation have united and I would hope Dakota Access does not continue with construction with the destruction of land before (the judge's ruling)."
The tribe's lawsuit, filed last month on behalf of the tribe by environmental group Earthjustice, said the project violates several federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act. The tribe also argues the project will harm water supplies and disturb ancient sacred sites outside of the 2.3-million acre reservation.
"The judge clearly understands the issues at stake," said Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney. "There are thousands of people out there who are going to be very upset if they try to move ahead while the judge considers this issue."
Corps spokeswoman Eileen Williamson said she couldn't comment on the lawsuit. She previously said that the agency's review of the pipeline found "no significant impacts to the environment or historic properties."
"Everyone needs water and I'm very grateful to the Standing Rock Tribe for making this clear that this has to stop," actress Susan Sarandon told The Associated Press. "Now it's our turn to support them and make things right."
The Iowa Utilities Board will hear arguments on the landowners' motion to halt construction on their properties until a court can rule on their lawsuit, which challenges the board's authority to allow forced condemnation of farmland for a privately owned pipeline project under eminent domain laws.
Last month in Iowa, construction equipment at several construction sites was set on fire, causing more than $1 million in damage. Protest groups in the state denied responsibility, but said they plan to continue peaceful demonstrations against the project.