A line of protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota head to a unity rally on the west steps of the State Capitol late Thursday in Denver. Several hundred marchers walked from the four directions to the Capitol to take part in the rally against the oil pipeline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A line of protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota head to a unity rally on the west steps of the State Capitol late Thursday in Denver. Several hundred marchers walked from the four directions to the Capitol to take part in the rally against the oil pipeline. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Tribe’s bid to stop pipeline denied; Feds halt work in 1 area

Associated Press

NEAR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, N.D. — The federal government stepped into the fight over the Dakota Access oil pipeline Friday, ordering work to stop on one segment of the project in North Dakota and asking the Texas-based company building it to “voluntarily pause” action on a wider span that an American Indian tribe says holds sacred artifacts.

The government’s order came minutes after a judge rejected a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction of the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline.

The tribe, whose cause has drawn thousands to join their protest, has challenged the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits at more than 200 water crossings for the pipeline. Tribal leaders allege it violates several federal laws and will harm water supplies. The tribe also alleges that ancient sites have been disturbed during construction.

The tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, spoke at the North Dakota state Capitol in front of several hundred people, some carrying signs that read “Respect Our Water” and “Water Is Sacred.” Archambault called the federal announcement “a beautiful start” and said the dispute is a long way from over.

“A public policy win is a lot stronger than a judicial win,” he said. “Our message is heard.”

A joint statement from the Army and the Departments of Justice and the Interior said construction bordering or under Lake Oahe would not go forward and asked the Texas-based pipeline builder, Energy Transfer Partners, to stop work 20 miles to the east and west of the lake while the government reconsiders “any of its previous decisions.”

The statement also said the case “highlighted the need for a serious discussion” about nationwide reforms “with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

Energy Transfer Partners officials did not return phone calls or emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council said he was disappointed with the government’s decision to intervene and called it “flagrant overreach” that will result in more oil being moved by trucks and trains.

The 1,172-mile project will carry nearly a half-million barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota’s oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Illinois.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington said in denying the tribe’s request for a temporary injunction that the court “does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance” to the tribe and that, given the federal government’s history with the tribe, the court scrutinized the permitting process “with particular care.”

Nonetheless, the judge wrote, the tribe “has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.”

Attorney Jan Hasselman with the environmental group Earthjustice, who filed the lawsuit on the tribe’s behalf, said earlier this week any such decision would be challenged. “We will have to pursue our options with an appeal and hope that construction isn’t completed while that (appeal) process is going forward,” he said.

Tribal historian LaDonna Brave Bull Allard said Boasberg’s ruling gave her “a great amount of grief. My heart is hurting, but we will continue to stand, and we will look for other legal recourses.”

Earlier in the day, thousands of protesters, many from tribes around the country, gathered near the reservation that straddles the North and South Dakota border.

“There’s never been a coming together of tribes like this,” according to Judith LeBlanc, a member of the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma and director of the New York-based Native Organizers Alliance. People came from as far as New York and Alaska, some bringing their families and children, and hundreds of tribal flags dotted the camp, along with American flags flown upside-down in protest.

The judge’s order was announced over a loudspeaker there. John Nelson of Portland, Oregon, came to the camp to support his grandson, Archambault. The 82-year-old said he was not surprised by the ruling, “but it still hurts.”

State authorities announced this week that law enforcement officers from across the state were being mobilized at the protest site, some National Guard members would work security at traffic checkpoints and another 100 would be on standby. The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association asked the Justice Department to send monitors to the site because it said racial profiling is occurring.

Nearly 40 people have been arrested since the protest began in April, including tribal chairman Dave Archambault II.

A week ago, protesters and construction workers were injured when, according to tribal officials, workers bulldozed sites on private land that the tribe says in court documents are “of great historic and cultural significance.” Energy Transfer Partners denied the allegations.

The state’s Private Investigation and Security Board received complaints about the use of dogs and will look into whether the private security teams at the site are properly registered and licensed, board attorney Monte Rogneby said Friday, adding that he would not name the firms.

On Thursday, North Dakota’s archaeologist said that piece of private land was not previously surveyed by the state would be surveyed next week and that if artifacts are found, pipeline work still could cease.

The company plans to complete the pipeline this year, and said in court papers that stopping the project would cost $1.4 billion the first year, mostly due to lost revenue in hauling crude.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An instructor playing the role of a suspect in a vehicle sticks her hands out of a car door during a training class at the Washington state Criminal Justice Training Commission, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Burien, Wash. Washington state is embarking on a massive experiment in police reform and accountability following the racial justice protests that erupted after George Floyd's murder last year, with nearly a dozen new laws that took effect Sunday, July 25, but law enforcement officials remain uncertain about what they require in how officers might respond — or not respond — to certain situations, including active crime scenes and mental health crises. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
As police adjust to reforms, crisis responders feel deserted

A new law leaves mentally ill people on the streets, responders say. It’s not what lawmakers intended.

PUD Generation Senior Manager Brad Spangler points out a megawatt meter for one of two generators that provide power to the City of Everett at the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project on Friday, July 23, 2021 in Sultan, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How the PUD kept things humming during the record heat wave

The public utility has been bracing for the impacts of climate change for more than a decade.

Mountlake Terrace man identified in motorcycle fatality

Edward Shephard, 64, was the only driver involved in the crash in Snohomish on Sunday.

Joseph Lindell, left, Nathaniel Lindell, 19 and Jason Guzman, 18, next to one of Nathaniel's Bigfoot cutout on Friday, July 16, 2021 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Bigfoot sighting: Not in the woods, near the Everett Safeway

Here’s the story behind the Beverly Lane display of Sasquatch, flowers and flags.

Snohomish County PUD's innovative solar battery powered microgrid batteries sit in their enclosed units during a visit by Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Arlington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
PUD’s experimental solar power microgrid is ready to go live

The site in Arlington will be a test lab of ideas, as the PUD figures out the future of electricity.

c
AP College Board honors two Kamiak teachers

Kamiak High School Career and Technical Education teachers Sean Moore and Nate… Continue reading

Kids' Oasis, a wooden castle playground adjacent to Mount Pilchuck Elementary School, is demolished on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Nothing lasts forever — Lake Stevens’ castle playground leveled

When it was built in 1992, Kids’ Oasis at Mount Pilchuck Elementary was unlike anything else.

Nevaeh Smith (left), niece of murder victim Michael Smith, and Shuston Smith, Michael Smith's sister, embrace at the sentencing of Jesse Engerseth Tuesday afternoon at the Snohomish County Superior Courthouse on July 27, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Arlington man gets 12¼ years for murder by car

Jesse Engerseth, 24, crashed into Michael Smith, 32, killing him. Smith was survived by two sons and a pregnant partner.

Mountlake Terrace man dies in motorcycle crash in Snohomish

Authorities did not believe other cars were involved in the crash. The man was in his 60s.

Most Read