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A federal judge postponed a hearing that would have determined whether protestors demonstrating against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline should be banned from build sites, according to The Morning Star. Until judicial matters are resolved, developers have agreed to stop all construction work at the site in question, though the company has confirmed that other sites on the $3.7 billion pipeline will continue to build.
The controversial 1,154-mile pipeline would carry oil from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota to Illinois, but its construction has been stuck at a site near the Missouri River, where local police forces and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have reached a standoff in recent weeks.
The Associated Press reports that the police have arrested over two-dozen protestors at a site 34 miles south of the town of Mandan, North Dakota. Dakota Access LLP, the line’s official developer, filed a lawsuit to block the demonstrators’ access to construction sites last week.
The hearing on Thursday would have decided on the status of a preliminary injunction to prevent protestors from obstructing the construction of the line.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland rescheduled the hearing for September 8th and extended the restraining order against the protestors until the hearing takes place. "The parties are strongly encouraged to meet and confer in good faith in an attempt to resolve this dispute prior to the hearing," the judge wrote as part of court filings on Monday.
A coalition of Native Americans invited human rights groups to visit North Dakota on Tuesday, referring to the situation as a “crisis.”
"We are committed to peaceful defense of our water and our territory," the tribes said in a statement.
The line would carry more than 470,000 barrels of oil per day, but could jeopardize the safety of the Sioux tribe’s sacred sites and their drinking water, according to tribal officials.
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…