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The Rosebud Sioux tribe and the Fort Belknap Indian reservation have filed a lawsuit seeking a withdrawal of Washington’s approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, the Associated Press reports.
The AP quoted attorneys for the plaintiffs as saying the lawsuit asked a U.S. district judge in Montana to rescind the approval as it failed to take into account their rights and even put the members of their communities at risk. In short, the plaintiffs argue, President Trump’s approval of the pipeline was illegal.
“The tribes are talking about cultural sites, archaeological sites, burial grounds, graveyards — none of that has been surveyed and it’s in the way of the pipeline,” one of the attorneys said. Also, according to the plaintiffs, the pipeline could damage a water supply system in South Dakota that some 51,000 people rely on, including the residents of three Native American reservations.
In case all this sounds familiar, it is. This is simply the latest in a string of lawsuits launched by Native American communities and environmentalist groups against planned pipelines.
Keystone XL was among the most controversial, and President Obama vetoed it before he left office. President Trump’s almost first order of business, however, was to revoke the veto and give the go-ahead to Keystone XL, which will carry 830,000 barrels daily of Albertan crude to Nebraska and will cost US$8 billion to build.
The move immediately ignited opposition and led to a change in the original route of the pipeline, and most recently, to Montana District Judge Brian Morris ordering the State Department to review in more depth the part of the route that will pass through Nebraska.
In his August ruling, Judge Morris said that the State Department had to “analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision” before approving the Keystone XL project. The same judge will hear the Rosebud Sioux and Fort Belknap case.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.