Judge denies tribes' request to halt pipeline

Activists participate in an art project conceived by Cannupa Hunska Luger from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation

Energy Transfer Partners largely stayed mum during the months in which supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe camped out by a section of the pipeline that was left uncompleted, stalled by the Obama administration. According to the Native American tribes fighting against the multi-billion dollar project, it compromises their access to clean, fresh water.

The native tribes' original lawsuit, filed in July, argued that North Dakota-to-Illinois pipeline would disrupt their cultural sites and could turn their drinking water supply toxic.

Chad Harrison, a councilman-at-large for the Standing Rock Sioux, said the company improperly "argues it is the victim here", when it has instead benefited under the Trump administration. The United States can not meet its burden of demonstrating that a compelling governmental interest justifies siting this pipeline under these sacred waters owned by the Tribe.

A U.S. federal judge has rejected a last-ditch legal challenge from a Native American tribe to halt construction of the controversial North Dakota pipeline.

Dakota Access developers are building the pipeline's Oahe crossing now, and a lawyer for the company said on Monday that the company could potentially run oil through the pipeline within 45 days, if not sooner.

Energy Transfer Partners last week received an easement to build its pipeline under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River in North Dakota.

Shortly after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order allowing construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipelines to resume.

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Last week, Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado estimated that the drilling work would take approximately two months, and that the pipeline would be operational within three.

Lawyers for the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux wanted Judge Boasberg to block construction with a temporary restraining order.

Until then, Mr. Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said, he and other opponents of the pipeline will continue to fight in courts and on the ground, "in peaceful prayer and in dignity as we assert our rights to protect our environment, our economy and our sovereignty". Only a few hundred protesters remain, and crews have been removing tipis and yurts.

US military veterans even raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and had begun heading back to North Dakota to lend their bodies as human shields to protect protesters struggling to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from ever running under Lake Oahe.

With the green light from the USA federal government, the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline said February 8 it plans to resume work immediately to finish the long-stalled project.

A judge also denied the emergency bid by Sioux Tribe members to stop construction.

Abandoned property used by people who temporarily occupied the Oceti Sakowin camp to protest the Dakota Access pipeline is piled in front of Dumpsters headed to the landfill.

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