District court denies tribal request to stop work on pipeline, feds step in

Published: Sep. 9, 2016 at 3:39 PM EDT
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The Latest on the legal challenge and protest of the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Federal authorities say they want to review their permitting for the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota and have asked that the company "voluntarily pause" construction on a 40-mile span of land that Standing Rock Sioux officials say holds sacred sites and artifacts.

A federal judge denied the tribe's request Friday to temporarily stop construction on the four-state $3.8 billion oil pipeline.

Shortly after, the Departments of Justice, Army and Interior released a statement says it would "reconsider any of its previous decisions" on land that borders or is under Lake Oahe and requested that Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners "voluntarily pause" work within 20 miles east or west of the lake.

The statement also said that the case "highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes' views on these types of infrastructure projects."

The tribe has said that the pipeline threatens its water supply and that construction already has disturbed sacred sites.


2:05 p.m.

The Standing Rock Sioux's tribal historian says a federal judge's decision to deny a request for a temporary stop of construction on the Dakota Access pipeline gives her "a great amount of grief."

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, who also has been a part of the protests near the North Dakota reservation, says that the tribe will "continue to stand" and "look for legal recourses," as well as continue to protest peacefully.

Attorney Jan Hasselman with environmental group Earthjustice, who filed the lawsuit in July on behalf of the tribe, said in the days before the ruling that it'll be challenged.

Hasselman said that they'll "hope that construction isn't completed while that (appeal) process is going forward."

Officials with pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners didn't return The Associated Press' phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Allard also noted that her tribe is not the only that's filed a lawsuit. The Yankton Sioux tribe in South Dakota did the same yesterday.


1:45 p.m.

A federal judge has denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request to temporarily stop construction on the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline near their reservation in North Dakota.

Tribal officials challenged the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant permits for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners' $3.8 billion pipeline that is intended to carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg comes amid growing protests over the pipeline, which would cross the Missouri River less than a mile upstream of the reservation.

The tribe argues the pipeline could impact drinking water and that construction has already disturbed ancient sacred sites.

A lawyer for the tribe says the ruling will be appealed.


1:35 p.m.

Many of those protesting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline are planning to gather at the North Dakota Capitol on the day a judge is to rule on a tribal challenge to the project.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg says he'll rule by the end of Friday on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's request to block the project, which will carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

The rally is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday on the Capitol grounds, and participants will march there from a bridge over the Missouri River, which the tribe says will be threatened by the pipeline.

Many are coming from the protest site near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, about 40 miles south of Bismarck.

The Standing Rock Sioux say the project threatens water supplies and has already disrupted sacred sites. The developer, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says modern technology allows quick detection of leaks. Pipeline supporters also say it would cut the amount of oil that travels by train.


1:30 p.m.

A North Dakota state agency that regulates private investigation and security firms is looking into the use of force against protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The confrontation last weekend between protesters and private security guards left some guards injured. Tribal officials say about 30 protesters were pepper-sprayed and some were bitten by dogs after construction workers bulldozed alleged sacred sites.

Monte Rogneby, an attorney for the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board, says the board received complaints about use of the dogs.

He says the probe should also find out whether the private security personnel at the site are properly registered and licensed. Rogneby says the board has contacted private security firms that it believes were involved in the protest, but he would not name them.

Rogneby says the board wants to finish its investigation "sooner rather than later."

A federal judge is set to deliver a key ruling Friday on the four-state pipeline.


1:10 p.m.

An attorney says the Yankton Sioux Tribe's lawsuit over the Dakota Access pipeline is not expected to have any immediate bearing, and she wouldn't say whether the tribe would ask a federal court to temporarily block construction of it.

The lawsuit from the South Dakota tribe was filed Thursday and is separate from the one filed by the Standing Rock Sioux on which a federal judge is expected to rule Friday.

Tribal attorney Jennifer Baker says the lawsuit will take time, but that the Yankton Sioux wants to stand beside Standing Rock, Cheyenne River and other tribes because they share rights to the water and the land.

The complaint says the pipeline route passes through the tribe's treaty territory, aboriginal title lands and areas of cultural and spiritual importance.


10:30 a.m.

More than 1,000 people, including families and children, are gathered at the Dakota Access pipeline protest site in North Dakota.

They're awaiting a critical ruling from a federal judge on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's request to block the $3.8 billion pipeline over environmental concerns.

Judith LeBlanc is director of the New York-based Native Organizers Alliance. She said Friday that it's an historic coming together of tribes — probably the largest such gathering of Native Americans in a century.

People have come from as far as New York and Alaska, as well as Canada.

Kate Silvertooth made the daylong drive from Colorado on Thursday, spending hundreds of dollars on supplies such as tarps and food. She says she "felt moved" to help the protesters.

The pipeline, being built by a Texas-based company, is to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.


9:05 a.m.

The Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association has asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to send federal monitors to the site of a large pipeline protest in North Dakota.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others are trying to stop the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, saying it threatens their drinking water and has disturbed sacred sites.

The association, made up of tribal leaders in the Dakotas and Nebraska, aims to defend tribal rights.

President John Yellow Bird Steele sent a letter to Lynch on Thursday saying protesters have been attacked by private security with guard dogs and that racial profiling is occurring. Authorities say some protesters are armed with hatchets and knives, and Saturday's protest injured guards and dogs.

Lynch's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg says he'll rule by the end of Friday on the tribe's challenge to the pipeline, which will carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.


WHSV covered this extensively in the recent week, and you can find that coverage in the 'Related Stories' section of this page.