Published October 12, 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled on Wednesday that the Dakota Access pipeline can continue operating while an environmental study is conducted to asssess the impact on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting the environmental study after the federal judge ruled in June that the Corps had done it due diligence before granting an easement permit under Lake Oahe, where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe gets its drinking water. The Corps issued the permit as result of pressure from the Trump administration to grant the permit so the pipeline could be completed and operational.
In December 2016, the Obama administration denied an easement permit under Lake Oahe.
“The Corps must simply connect the dots,” Judge Boarberg writes in his ruling. “This, then, is not a case in which the agency must redo its analysis from the ground up.”
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Fraizer, whose tribe is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawsuit, issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
“Earlier today Federal Courts determined that oil can continue to endanger Tribal waters and infringe on treaty agreements. In allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue operations it shows a complete disregard of the Federal government’s responsibility to safeguard its treaty responsibilities, our life-giving resources and the American people.
This decision now renders the previous judgements by the Federal court to a mere government formality. According to the United States Constitution, Article 6, Paragraph 2 “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
Chairman Frazier stated, “I am deeply saddened by the yet another example of the United States disregarding the rule of law after inflicting violence on my people to violate treaty responsibilities. This decision is an example that the United States only applies their own laws when it is convenient to wealthy people operating under the guise of a business. If we cannot stop the United States from breaking their own laws, how can we expect the justice from their laws?”
The environmental impact study is expected to be completed in Spring of 2018.
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