Despite the federal court’s ruling, Standing Sioux tribe says it will continue its resistance movement.
An hour before the start of Sunday’s U.S. presidential debates, a federal court rejected an appeal from Indigenous activists to suspend construction on the hotly-contested Dakota Access Pipeline.
The two-page ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the request to grant a permanent injunction to block the behemoth US $3.7 billion, 1,170-mile pipeline that, when completed, will transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil across 4 states. The pipeline would also snake through half a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation, which straddles the border between North and South Dakota.
The court, in essence, refused to extend a temporary injunction issued in late August, suspending pipeline construction near the tribe’s main water source. In doing so, the court opened the door for Energy Transfer Partners — the Dallas company that is funding the project — to move forward with the project.
Attorneys for Dakota Access, the coalition of activists battling against the pipeline, said last Wednesday that company attorneys have made it clear to them that is exactly what they intend to do.
Despite this setback, the tribe and their supporting allies say they are determined to continue.
Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II called the ruling “disappointing,” but told NBC News, “We aren’t done with this fight.”
Thousands have joined protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe including 300 other tribes at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, the site of the Oceti Sakowin Camp, to protest the pipeline. In winning the temporary injunction in August, the tribe successfully sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over the land. Standing Rock Sioux argued that it did not adequately consult with them when they granted approval for the pipeline’s construction, as is required under the National Historic Preservation Act.
As such, the three-judge panel Sunday said it “can only hope that the spirit” of the act “may yet prevail”, adding that the ruling is “not the final word,” noting that the final decision lies with the Corps of Engineers.
Archambault said this notes that the court is signalling “to not proceed” with the project.
“It seems they are coming to the same conclusion as the federal government in acknowledging there is something wrong with the approvals for the pipeline,” he said. “We see this as an encouraging sign.”
This article originally appeared on TeleSur.
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