US Judge Strikes Down Tribe Request to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline Construction

Judge to hear arguments on Dakota Access pipeline work

Boasberg denied the order following Monday afternoon's hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and required the pipeline company to provide updates February 21 and every Monday thereafter on when oil will begin to flow through the river-crossing pipe.

The pipeline, when complete, is expected to transport about 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to a terminal in IL, where it can be shipped to refineries.

Boasberg ruled that construction of the pipeline doesn't threaten the water and said he wouldn't issue a restraining order against the project.

Although the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, along with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, have been challenging the pipeline since previous year, arguments on Monday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia centered on a new argument that the Cheyenne River tribe raised in its latest court papers: that the pipeline would burden their exercise of religion, in violation of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Standing Rock tribe won't be pursuing a religious freedom argument in those papers, the lawyers said.

Boasberg ordered Dakota Access to file a weekly update on the likely date that oil would begin flowing through the pipeline. They maintain the project threatens cultural sites, water and their religion.

The Cheyenne River tribe filed the request last week, after ETP got permission from the Army to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota.

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A district court judge in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Monday on whether to stop work on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Cheyenne tribe has been party to an overarching lawsuit with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe brought in July against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the agency approved a permit for the river crossing, without writing an actual easement.

In a separate court filing last week, the Sioux also asked the court for a preliminary injunction that would direct the Army to withdraw the easement permit, which it claims is unlawful under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners received final approval from the Army last week to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota and complete the 1,200-mile pipeline, which would move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in IL.

According to the Army Corps, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed along its scheduled route as planned.

Work is underway. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is to hear arguments this afternoon on whether it should be stopped while the lawsuit plays out.

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