Energy Transfer Partners LP’s infamous US$3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline returned to federal court on Wednesday 5 October. Three judges were appointed to hear the arguments concerning the discontinuation of pipeline project.
The judges are not expected to make a decision anytime soon and, as a result, construction on the project is still at a standstill since its September ruling. The hearing focused on whether or not the pipeline passing through Native American lands would be approved.
The 1100 mile (1770 km) crude oil pipeline has received an abundance of opposition, primarily from Native American tribes and environmental groups. The most recent attempt at halting the pipeline began in July and was led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe endeavoured to stop the pipeline by arguing that the line would threaten their water supply and would impact their cultural and historical heritage.
Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, recently discussed the hearing at a news conference. He explained: “[On 5 October] we just listened to the judges ask questions back and forth on whether or not we have a good argument. For the tribe, this wrong is right there in front of us. But when you have lawyers that pick apart and interpret and make things ambiguous, it's really hard to tell what the outcome is going to be.
"Millions of people across the country and world, more than 300 federally recognised tribes, members of Congress and dozens of city governments across the country, stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We stand together in peaceful prayer and solidarity because this pipeline threatens the lives of the more than 17 million people who rely on the Missouri River for their water. This pipeline has already destroyed the burial places of our Lakota and Dakota ancestors. If construction continues, our people stand to lose even more of our sacred places and cultural objects.”
During the hearing, both sides were addressed with difficult questions. One question revolved around whether the US Army Corps of Engineers had performed a thorough tribal consultation. The US Army Corps declared they had effectively performed the consultation. However, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe believes the US Army Corps did not perform a thorough consultation. Archambault stated: “The US Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without consulting with our tribe. The approval of this pipeline by the US Army Corps of Engineers is a violation of our treaty rights and we will not stop fighting until our lands, people, water and sacred places are permanently protected.”
No decision has been made yet on the ruling. Yet, the temporary injunction that halted a 20 mile radius of Lake Oahe is still in effect, and will be until the final decision from the court.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/07102016/dakota-access-returns-to-court/