Dakota Access Pipeline

Dakota Access Pipeline Ruling: Federal Judge Denies Tribes Request To Stop Construction Of Controversial Pipeline [Video]

A highly anticipated and decisive ruling regarding construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline was handed down on Friday. For months, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as well as others, have been protesting the controversial oil pipeline; a pipeline they say threatens tribal water supplies and sacred Native American sites. Since the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline began, hundreds of predominantly Native American protesters have gathered in makeshift camps along the pipeline’s construction route.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in addition to mounting a full-scale, boots on the ground protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the tribe filed a lawsuit with the federal government challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ permits granted to the company behind the pipeline. If the judge had ruled in the tribe’s favor, construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline would have been effectively halted.

According to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the permits issued to Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners alleged that the permits (and entire Dakota Access Pipeline) violate multiple federal laws.

Unfortunately for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has denied the tribe’s case, reports the Associated Press. He will not issue a temporary injunction to halt construction on the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. Despite the claims the tribe and hundreds of protesters that the project violates the National Historic Preservation Act, is responsible for the destruction of sacred sites including burial grounds and could compromise the safety of local water because the pipeline will cross under the water at over 200 locations in its entirety.

In addition to the sacred sites that the tribe alleges the Dakota Access Pipeline project has already destroyed, there are fears that more Native American heritage sites may be compromised as construction continues.

According to an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Jan Hasselman, the tribe will appeal the judge’s Friday decision regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, a decision that was handed down in the form a single-page ruling. With no explanation.

Following news of the ruling, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline popped up across the country, including in Oregon, Ohio and Colorado.

Friday’s game-changing ruling regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline comes as tensions between protesters and local law enforcement and private security hired to police the site has reached a breaking point. Last Saturday, protests turned violent for the first time as Native American protesters of the pipeline were allegedly attacked by private security guards.

In that incident, which was reportedly triggered by the wanton destruction of sacred Native American sites and burial grounds in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline, hundreds of protesters confronted construction workers following the destruction of their historical sites. Private security working the Dakota Access Pipeline project reportedly responded to the protesters by siccing dogs on them and spraying them with pepper spray.

Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokespersons have a different version of last weekend’s altercation; they say that the violence was incited by the protesters and even went so far as to assert that no protesters were injured in the melee. Multiple photos quickly began to circulate on social media that refuted the official version of events.

On Thursday, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple activated roughly 100 members of the state’s National Guard to act as support for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department in anticipation of Friday’s ruling. Many protesters and those opposed to Dakota Access Pipeline have been incredibly wary regarding the Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s role in patrolling the pipeline protests. Reportedly, the department has been tasked with ensuring that the pipeline’s construction continues smoothly and without harassment. It doesn’t appear that the department has been asked to provide security or protection for the non-violent Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, and now that the National Guard is involved in the situation, many are worried that it could become a bloodbath.

Despite Friday’s ruling against the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, protesters of the pipeline have vowed to stand their ground.

The tribe did get some good news regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline construction on Friday, by way of the Obama Administration.

The gist of the statement is that the Obama Administration is going to have the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s back, even though the federal judge left them high and dry.

It is unknown what level of force private security, the local sheriff’s department and the National Guard have been authorized to use against the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, however they aren’t planning on packing up and leaving until the pipeline construction ceases.

[Photo by David Zalubowski/AP Photo]