A federal judge denied an American Indian tribe’s request Tuesday to halt the flow of oil through the hotly debated Dakota Access Pipeline.
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court said that forcibly preventing oil from coursing through the pipeline would run against public interest. His decision effectively leaves the anti-DAPL movement in shambles with few remaining legal avenues to stop the multibillion-dollar oil project.
Boasberg issued his decision denying the request by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, ruling that the court “acknowledges that the tribe is likely to suffer irreparable harm to its members’ religious exercise if oil is introduced into the pipeline, but Dakota Access would also be substantially harmed by an injunction, given the financial and logistical injuries that would ensue.”
The court’s decision comes on the heels of a months-long campaign to thwart the DAPL, which will transport nearly 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from the Dakotas to Illinois.
Standing Rock, the Cheyenne River Sioux, and environmentalists believe the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
The Army Corps of Engineers, at former President Barack Obama’s direction, rejected the previously approved pipeline in December, arguing the route needed further environmental reviews and assessments before construction could proceed.
President Donald Trump eventually issued orders approving the DAPL in January, resulting in a cascade of lawsuits by tribes suggesting the president violated federal law by denying proper review of environmental and religious rights issues surrounding the $3.8 billion pipeline.
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