A controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota was given the go-ahead after a court-imposed injunction slapped on the project was lifted by the Washington, D.C., Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The court decided Sunday that a Native American tribe was unable to persuade the court that the nearly 1,200-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline would create “irreparable harm” to tribal lands and artifacts, and that prohibiting the project’s construction would not “negatively impact” the public interest.
“We find the Tribe has not carried its burden of persuasion on these factors,” the court’s order reads, “and so we deny the motion.”
The same court decided on Sept. 17 that construction on the pipeline would be temporarily stopped within 20 miles of Lake Oahe in North Dakota while the court considered whether to order a longer delay.
The $3.8 billion pipeline is a joint venture between energy companies Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Enbridge Energy Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners.
Standing Rock Sioux members, whose ancestors are the Great Sioux Nation, argue the pipeline would trample on venerated tribal lands and destroy artifacts. They also believe it could potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. The pipeline will travel 90 feet below the riverbed.
Energy groups cheered the court’s decision, with one group suggesting the move essentially legitimizes the Army Corps of Engineers consulting process.
“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 with Midwest Alliance For Infrastructure Now Coalition, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
He added: “As laid out in Judge Boasberg’s opinion, the corps consulted 389 times with 55 tribes including the Standing Rock Sioux.”
Stevens was referring to a court battle in August that gave Energy Transfers Partners the go-ahead on the pipeline.
The prolonged battle culminated in the court denying the motion for a preliminary injunction, arguing that the Native American tribe could not show how the pipeline would damage the group’s sacred ground.
The court’s ruling is not the end of the discussion.
President Barack Obama decided in September to shelve the so-called DAPL until the government can determine the effects it will have on the environment. The decision to temporarily stop the pipeline was likely informed by the stiff opposition to the project.
The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior announced the pause in an area near the North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a major water resource for the state’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
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