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A federal judge refused a request by Native American tribes objecting to the construction of the last portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday, according to emerging reports on the matter.
"We're disappointed with today's ruling denying a temporary restraining order against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but we are not surprised," Chase Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, wrote in a statement.
The request was a last-minute effort by the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to stop the 1,170-mile-long pipeline from being built on the grounds that it would disrupt sacred sites and jeopardize the safety of a nearby reservation.
"The sanctity of these waters is a central tenet of their religion, and the placement of the pipeline itself, apart from any rupture and oil spill, is a desecration of these waters," Attorney Nicole Ducheneaux, who represents the Cheyenne River Sioux, wrote to Judge James Boasberg in Washington D.C. in the request.
The Army Corps of Engineers gave the pipeline’s shareholders the final approval needed to complete the project last week. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) had already drilled the underground holes needed to allow the remaining segment to enter and exit the ground in anticipation of getting the final go-ahead that President Donald Trump had campaigned on providing.
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If it had been accepted, the tribes’ request would have prevented construction from moving any further until another lawsuit relating to the project had been cleared. The decision narrows the tribes’ legal options in the three months before the pipeline becomes functional.
"The estimate is 60 days to complete the drill and another 23 days to fill the line to Patoka, [Illinois]," said Energy Transfer Partners’ spokeswoman Vicki Granado. ETP is one of a consortium of companies building the $3.8 billion project, which will connect fossil fuel resources in the Bakken formation in North Dakota to the rest of the country.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…