The tribes had argued that the pipeline would render water they use for religious ceremonies spiritually impure even if the pipeline goes under Lake Oahe
Oscar High Elk, 26, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe leads a prayer as protesters prepare to evacuate the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester, photo: Reuters/Terray Sylvester
07 of March 2017 14:21:39
A U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled against Native American tribes seeking to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline as their legal options narrow weeks before oil is set to flow on the project.Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the tribes' request for an injunction to withdraw permission issued by the Army Corps for the last link of the oil pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.Energy Transfer Partners LP is building the $3.8 billion pipeline to move crude from the Northern Plains to the Midwest and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.The denial of the injunction represents yet another setback to the tribes – the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux – that have been leading the charge against the line, which runs adjacent to tribal territory in southern North Dakota.[caption id="attachment_50914" align="aligncenter" width="1199"] Graphic: Reuters[/caption]The tribes had argued that the pipeline would render water they use for religious ceremonies spiritually impure even if the pipeline goes under Lake Oahe. They said the pipeline was reminiscent of an ancient prophecy of a Black Snake that would harm natives and that they could not use other water supplies in the region because they had been polluted by decades of mining.Boasberg said in a written ruling that the Cheyenne tribe "remained silent as to the Black Snake prophecy and its concerns about oil in the pipeline under Lake Oahe" during two years of legal disputes against the line.Chase Iron Eyes, lead counsel for the Lakota People's Law Project said "it is simply unacceptable that the government is allowing Energy Transfer Partners to build this pipeline through our sacred lands." The water the pipeline threatens supplies used by the Lakota and more than 17 million other people downstream, he said.The tribes had won a reprieve from the Democratic Obama administration in early December, but the victory was short-lived as Republican President Donald Trump signed an executive order days after taking office on Jan. 20 that smoothed the path for the last permit needed.