After an Obama-appointed federal judge smacked down a request to enjoin construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline filed by the activist lawyers representing the Standing Rock Sioux tribe the matter was appealed.
This evening a three-member panel again delivered a loss to the tribe. You can read the full ruling below. It’s notable that the panel included one Bush appointee, one Clinton appointee, and one Obama appointee.
What this means is that construction in the area disputed by the tribe can go forward, at least up to Lake Oahe. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still needs to issue an easement to go under the reservoir, and for now the Obama administration is holding that up.
Still, work can now go go forward everywhere else. Which, in turn, means we’re likely to see things get pretty hot in Morton County this week as pipeline workers try to go back to work and the environmental extremists who have congregated in south central North Dakota try to stop them.
Let’s all hope nobody gets hurt.
What this also means is that the case the tribe has made against the pipeline simply isn’t holding up to legal scrutiny. Which isn’t surprising to anyone who read federal Judge James Boasberg’s original ruling rejecting down the request for an injunction.
“We are pleased, but not surprised, by the Court’s decision as this demonstrates that the Army Corps of Engineers did, indeed, meet the requirements required by the law,” Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the MAIN Coalition (a group supporting the pipeline) said in a release responding to the ruling. “As laid out in Judge Boasberg’s opinion, the corps consulted 389 times with 55 tribes including the Standing Rock Sioux. Not only was the letter of the law met, but considering the lengths the corps and Dakota Access, LLC, went, so too was the spirit.”
UPDATE: In a release the tribe’s activist lawyer says the pipeline company should stand down on all work until the Corps issues its easement.
“We call on Dakota access to heed the government’s request to stand down around Lake Oahe,” said Jan Hasselman, lead attorney from Earthjustice, which is representing the tribe. “The government is still deciding whether or not Dakota access should get a permit. Continuing construction before the decision is made would be a tragedy given what we know about the importance of this area.”
Here’s the full decision:
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